China reopens borders despite COVID surge

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China has opened its borders to foreign travellers for the first time in 3 years, since they were restricted due to the COVID pandemic, additionally it also resumed issuing visas and passports.

The ease of restrictions comes at the beginning of Chunyun, the period of heavy travel that occurs in China around the Chinese Lunar New Year, considered one of the world’s largest human migrations, with an estimated 2.98 billion trips made by train, bus, and air during the 40-day period in 2020. Chunyun started this year on 7 January and will last until 15 February, estimating two billion trips. The Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year, is the most important traditional festival in China.

Meanwhile, the Mainland has seen a surge in COVID cases, prompting other countries to impose new COVID measures on travellers coming from China and advice against nonessential travel. In the EU, Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and the UK have testing requirements. As for the rest of the world, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, Qatar, South Korea, Taiwan and the USA also require negative tests for passengers arriving from China.

On the other hand, China Airlines, the state-owned flag carrier of the Republic of China, just launched new routes, including direct flights to Europe, to Athens, Budapest and Istanbul. As per CNN, China is the world’s largest market for outbound travel and is now looking to increase their air ties.

As per reports on Saturday, the Chinese government banned 1,000 social media accounts on Weibo, that criticised government’s coronavirus policies.

Source: cnn.com