*This China coronavirus update will post the latest report every week. 

China Covid-19 in Numbers (as of January 1, 2024)

  • Total Number of Cases: 503,302
  • Total Number of Recovered Patients: 379,053
  • Total Number of Reported Deaths: 5,272

*Data lifted from the latest Worldometers.info report and the CDC.

What Is the Current Situation in China?

china coronavirus update

China announced last January 8, 2023, the opening of its borders for travelers. Inbound passengers no longer have to undergo quarantine or apply for a health code. The only requirement is to present a negative PCR result 48 hours after your arrival to the region. 

From January 8, 2023, the country also restored its visa-free entry to the country. This offering is available for students, business travelers, and families. However, if you're considering leisurely travel, their tourist or 10-year visa may be available sometime in May this year. Although, the date is still unsure.

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Is It Safe To Travel To China Now?

The latest China coronavirus update is that there's still a consensus that travels to China should be reconsidered. This warning is regardless of your vaccination status. Government agencies are still apprehensive about lifting the restrictions. The US government has issued a Level 3:Reconsider Travel due to the surge of coronavirus infections in the country. 

Canada has also issued a high degree of caution when traveling to China. However, Canada's caution isn't related to the China coronavirus update, but rather the general situation in the country. 

Can U.S. Citizens Visit China Now?

Based on the latest China coronavirus update, the country suspended all travel entries from foreigners that are bearers of residence permits or visas on March 28, 2020.

After several months of dealing with the virus, the country lifted the ban under modifications of restrictions on August 10, 2020, to allow some foreigners to enter the country. China excluded the United States from the list of countries permitted entry into China. Conversely, the US also doesn't allow its citizens to travel to China due to the surge in infections. 

Only those with business interests, students, and family members of citizens are allowed to enter China. 

As mainland China started recovering its economy, the Hong Kong SAR resumed its transportation systems and business operations under adjusted restrictions. Hong Kong managed to improve conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. 

What Are the Requirements if I Need to Travel to China?

The National Immigration Administration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed on allowing foreigners with valid residence permits and other personal matters without applying for new visas to enter China. But if foreigners' residence permits expired on the implementation of the travel ban (March 28, 2020), they can apply for renewal by showing their expired residence permits to the authorities. The applicant must present the same purpose before the expiration of the residence permit.  

Here are some key reminders with regard to travel restrictions:

  • Suppose your stay in China involves necessary trade, economic, scientific, and technological activities. In that case, you can apply for a special visa with an attachment of an Invitation Letter from the Foreign Affairs Office.
  • A special visa is also known as an “M visa,” which means the purpose of a business visit. It has a validity of thirty days minimum and 180 days maximum period.
  • If, by chance, your residence permit and work permit are about to expire before authorities lift the ban, you should apply for a renewal of permits remotely. You can enter China with any type of visa once the authorities lift the ban. You should also proceed to the Police’s Entry and Exit Administrative Department to apply for your residence permit extension.
  • Your Chinese employer must restart your work permit application once your residence permit and work permit expires. You should know that your work permit license is not your final work permit, as foreign workers must apply for a Z visa if they are still outside China. Your Chinese employer can resume the work permit application and place your Z visa for your residence permit.
  • If your Chinese employer terminates you from work, but your residence permit and work permit are still valid, the company should cancel all your permits. The Rules for the Administration of Employment of Foreigners in China hold the law for this situation. A foreigner cannot enter China without a work permit or residence permit.
  • Foreigners can enter China if they have permanent residence ID cards.
  • Foreigners should follow compulsory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in China. Provinces and cities in the country have their own different quarantine measures for foreigners.

Check out the table below to know the appropriate visa type to apply for:

Source: China Ministry of Foreign Affairs

When Can I Travel to China?

Since August, China already made announcements that they are already allowing foreigners from specified European countries to start their applications for visas again at their respective Chinese consulates or embassies.

There's news that tourist visa issuance will start by May 2023.

China only allows US citizens with valid residence permits and visas. Still, the conditions remain limited. Foreign nationals who wish to enter China must present a negative COVID-19 test. Please check the PRC Embassy website for the updated timing requirements.

Please be aware that airports and other entry points will still follow health screening procedures, such as temperature checks.

China Flights Status

According to a global travel data firm, flights within China are starting to recover fully. The coronavirus pandemic made a significant impact on the aviation industry and grounded most planes since it started.

The country increases reinstating flights and bookings as the COVID-19 cases steadily decrease. There are even reports saying that the aviation industry is returning to its pre-pandemic state. ost flights are slowly recovering with keeping the pandemic under control and aggressive price promotions.

Domestic flights in China are seeing positive results, but their international flights may take a while to recover from the pandemic. Sad news for international flights as the International Air Transport Association stated that the number of passengers would not return to the pre-pandemic volume until 2024. This is especially since the latest China coronavirus update states that most governments are preventing their citizens to travel to the country. 

What Safety Health Practices Must I Observe While in China?

If you are traveling to China or any part of the world, you should observe the necessary measures to protect yourself and others from getting infected with COVID-19.

  • Maintain at least six feet away and avoid contact with anyone outside your household.
  • Keep your hands clean by washing them with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer.
  • Always wear a medical mask and face shield and protect your face in public.
  • Try to avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Avoid any contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, do not travel.

After you travel, you must still be cautious to further protect yourself and others from the disease. Your travel exposed you to the risk of COVID-19, and you may have the virus already without knowing it. You will put your friends, family, and community at risk for 14 days after exposure to the virus. You should take these actions to avoid the further spread of the virus:

  • As much as possible, stay at home.
  • Avoid interacting with other people.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 infection.

Note: This China coronavirus update was first published in October 2020 and has been updated to include the latest developments.

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