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COVID-19: China lifts sweeping visa restrictions on foreigners



China says it will lift a sweeping visa restriction it had placed on certain categories of foreigners starting from Wednesday, according to a press release by the Asian country’s embassy in Washington on Monday.

The restrictions which came into force in 2020, were largely as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision to lift the restrictions, according to the statement, marks the latest step towards reopening China to the outside world as Beijing gradually breaks its strict zero-Covid strategy that defined its pandemic response until a few months ago.

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In early December, Chinese authorities ended the regime of mass testing, lockdowns and long quarantines, though the abrupt reversal led to a sudden spike in Covid cases.

Beijing had announced in late December that inbound travelers to the country beginning January 8 would no longer need to quarantine, but kept in place visa restrictions on foreigners.

The updated policy will also allow for the resumption of visa-free travel for those arriving in cruise ships to Shanghai, as well as for certain tourist groups from Hong Kong, Macau and countries within the ASEAN regional grouping, the notice said.

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