China Relaxes Border Restrictions For First Time Since Start of COVID-19 Pandemic
China has eased nearly all COVID-19 restrictions related to international travel after three years of stringent safety measures. Inbound travelers had been required to quarantine for up to three weeks and the number of border crossings was limited. Proof of negative COVID-19 test is still necessary to traverse the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. The policy shift coincides with massive countrywide outbreaks of COVID-19. Media outlets have reported overwhelmed hospitals and high death rates. Henan province health officials stated that 90% of residents had contracted the virus, but they did not clarify when the various cases occurred. The United States and other countries have implemented testing requirements in people arriving from China. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock advised people to only visit China if necessary, until the outbreaks are brought under control.
China is not the only country experiencing COVID-19 waves. The United States, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, United Kingdom and many others are seeing spikes in case and hospitalizations. In the US case counts continue to rise. The CDC reported that cases increased by 16% from the previous week. The 48,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 was the most in nearly a year.