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Medical workers wearing protective clothing check passengers’ travel history at the Shanghai South railway station in Shanghai on February 9, 2020.( Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 1:14 PM PT – Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Beijing has announced that it will reopen its borders next month, effectively ending almost three years of strict quarantine rules for arrivals.

After the announcement was made, many Chinese citizens rushed to book flights to travel outside of the country. Passport applications for citizens who want to travel overseas will resume on January 8th.

The two countries with the most popular destinations for Chinese travelers, Japan and India, have announced that people coming from China must show a negative COVID test upon arrival.

This relaxation of COVID restrictions in the country comes after rare public protests occurred against President Xi Jinping in November. The protests had sparked from almost three years of the strict restrictions under the Zero-COVID policy, which the Chinese government implemented.

The announcement came after Monday’s news that the Chinese government is removing its quarantine restrictions for inbound travel. That day, the country also announced that they are removing the limit on the daily number for flights.

The National Health Commission has declared that on January 8th, COVID-19 would be downgraded to a Class B infectious disease.

The announcement was met with mixed reactions from the Chinese people, as some were confused about why they had to endure the restrictions for so long. Others wondered why the government decided to lift restrictions during a spike in COVID cases, and at a time when hospital workers are being overwhelmed.

On Monday, President Xi talked about the changes and called on officials to do what was “feasible” to save lives.

Having now abandoned the Zero-COVID policy, analyst say that Xi Jinping will now have to take responsibility for the wave of infections and why the country is not better prepared.

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