The country's National Health Commission is reportedly looking at cutting the hotel isolation period from seven to two days, but would add on a couple more days for home monitoring. It's not much, but at least a step in the right direction for its ailing tourism industry.
China is considering cutting the time that inbound visitors have to stay in Covid-19 quarantine, from 10 to seven days, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
A strict “zero-Covid” policy has been a damper on the world’s second-largest economy, contributing to concerns about a global recession, and international investors are closely watching for any sign of a relaxation of the rules.
China now requires travelers to isolate for 10 days on entry into the country, with seven days in a hotel room, followed by three days of home monitoring.
Officials are targeting a cut in the quarantine period to two days in a hotel and then five days at home, Bloomberg said.
The National Health Commission did not immediately respond to a fax from Reuters seeking comment on the report.
The reported cut in quarantine comes as Beijing boosts measures to stop Covid, strengthening public checks and locking down some residential compounds after a quadrupling of its case load in recent weeks.
The news agency said there was no clarity on how the new rules on home quarantine would apply to foreigners and other visitors without a residence in China.
In recent days, China has repeated its pledge to stick to its zero-Covid policy despite growing public frustration with it and its toll on the economy.
While China’s approach to containing outbreaks remains tough, it is mindful of not excessively curbing cross-border travel for reasons other than leisure, such as for business and study.
China last reduced its quarantine requirements on inbound travelers, including Chinese nationals, at the end of June. Since then, more international passenger flights in and out of China have also been allowed to resume.
(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Kanjyik Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Stephen Coates)
Photo credit: A building in the Forbidden City in the center of Beijing. Markus Winkler / Unsplash