Air traffic to and from the country came to a virtual standstill during the Corona crisis. (Representative)

New Delhi:

Travelers to China will no longer be required to take COVID-19 tests starting Wednesday, the country’s foreign ministry said on Monday. The move is seen as a milestone in the country’s effort to reopen to the rest of the world after nearly three years of isolation due to the pandemic.

A note on the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China states that travelers are no longer obliged to report negative test results when exiting and entering the country.

In January, the country ended the quarantine requirement for its own citizens arriving from abroad and gradually expanded the list of countries its citizens can travel to.

China also lifted a ban on group travel to overseas destinations including the US, Australia, the UK, South Korea and Japan, opening the door to outbound travel.

China decided last December to end the three-year zero-COVID policy, which included mass testing and strict and prolonged quarantine lockdowns. The abrupt decision led to a massive spike in hospitalizations and deaths that health experts said were largely unreported by the government.

A US study showed that China’s move to scrap its strict COVID-19 regime, which had spread the virus to its 1.4 billion people, could have resulted in almost 2 million additional deaths over the following two months.

Air travel to and from the country virtually ground to a halt during the coronavirus crisis that hit in early 2020 and resulted in the world’s toughest border controls.

The study said the number of additional deaths far exceeded the Chinese government’s January official estimate that 60,000 people had died in hospital with COVID-19 since the zero-COVID policy was abandoned a month earlier.

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