The nation of China is set to reopen its borders to tourists and resume issuing all visas Wednesday following a three-year halt amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
China is among the last major countries to reopen to foreign tourists. The announcement Tuesday came after China declared a “decisive victory” over the virus with more than 200 million of its citizens having been diagnosed and treated, and 800 of its critically ill having recovered from Covid.
It also follows an announcement from the White House that it is relaxing its Covid testing restrictions on travelers from China. In December the U.S. had been among several countries to require a negative Covid test for all travelers from China before crossing its borders.
China had enforced some of the world’s most draconian lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions, but late last year, following a weekend of sweeping nationwide protests, the government eased off from its “zero Covid policy.” However, the abrupt lifting of the policy led to a surge in infections that temporarily overwhelmed hospitals.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted President Xi Jinping as saying that the zero Covid policy to control the outbreak had been “entirely correct.”
The number of Covid cases have since peaked but in the meantime, international travel in and out of China has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels as the country transitions to a post-pandemic state.
According to Xinhua, China will continue to “optimize and adjust prevention and control policies and measures,” as are situationally necessary.