China reopens borders in final farewell to zero-Covid policy


Travelers began pouring into mainland China by air, land. And sea on Sunday, eager for the long-awaited reunion. As Beijing opened borders that have been closed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

After three years

Three years later, mainland China opened sea. And land crossings with Hong Kong. And ended quarantine requirements for incoming travelers. Breaking a final pillar of a zero-covid policy that protected. Chinese people from the virus but also isolated them from the rest. of the world.

China’s easing last month of one of the world’s strictest Covid regimes follows historic protests against a policy. That includes frequent testing, movement restrictions. And mass lockdowns that have hit the second-largest economy hard.

Long lines formed at Hong Kong’s international. Airport for flights to mainland cities including Beijing, Tianjin and Xiamen. And some Hong Kong media outlets estimated thousands were traveling.

Long lines formed at Hong Kong’s international

“I’m very happy, very happy, very excited. I haven’t seen my parents for many years,” said Hong Kong resident Teresa Chow, as she. And dozens of other passengers prepared to cross Hong Kong’s Lok Ma Chow checkpoint to mainland China early Sunday. .

“My parents are not well, and I couldn’t go back to see them even. After they were diagnosed with colon cancer, so I’m happy to go back and see them now.” He said, adding that he plans to visit his hometown in Ningbo, eastern China. .

Investors hope the reopening will revive the $17-trillion economy. Which has suffered the slowest growth in half a century. But the sudden policy change has triggered a massive wave of infections. That is overwhelming some hospitals and disrupting business.

The opening of borders follows Saturday’s start of “Chun Yun. “The first 40-day period of travel for the Lunar New Year. Which before the pandemic was the world’s largest annual migration of people. Returning to their hometowns to spend the holidays with family.

The opening of borders follows Saturday’s start of “Chun Yun

About 2 billion people are expected to travel this season. Double last year’s movement and a recovery of 70% of 2019 levels, the government says.

Many Chinese are also expected to begin traveling abroad. A long-awaited shift to tourist spots in countries such as Thailand. And Indonesia, although several governments – worried about China’s Covid spike. Are imposing restrictions on travelers from the country.

Analysts say travel will not return to pre-pandemic levels due to factors such as a lack of international flights.

China also resumed issuing passports and travel visas for mainland residents. And general visas and house permits for foreigners on Sunday. Beijing has a quota on the number of people who can travel between Hong Kong and China each day.

At Beijing Capital International Airport, family and friends exchanged emotional hugs. And greetings with passengers arriving from Hong Kong, Warsaw. And Frankfurt at the airport’s Terminal 3, meeting in the arrivals hall. That was impossible a day ago as it has now been cancelled. Quarantine requirements for travelers from abroad.

“I have been waiting for the reopening for a long time. Finally we reconnected with the world.  A 55-year-old businesswoman who flew in from Hong Kong.

People have been waiting for the re-opening for a long time.

Other people waiting at the airport included. A group of female fans carrying long-lens cameras hoping to catch a glimpse of South Korean boy band Tempest. The first idol group from South Korea to enter China in three years.

“It’s great to see them in person! They’re much more handsome and tall than I expected,” a 19-year-old named Xiny told Reuters. After chasing the seven-member boyband, who flew from Seoul via the Chinese city of Dalian.

“If the quarantine restrictions are lifted. It will be much more convenient to to see them and have them come to Beijing,” he said.

Such scenes of reconciliation. But clashed with other protests in some cities around China over the weekend. A reminder of how the economy remains under pressure.

On Saturday, hundreds of Tesla owners gathered at the automaker’s showrooms. And distribution centers in China to protest. The decision to cut prices for the second time in three months. A move to boost sales amid the world’s biggest demand slump. Auto market.

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