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China’s Easier Travel Rules Are Still the World’s Toughest

  • Officials warn shorter quarantine period isn’t a reopening
  • President Xi signals no immediate pivot away from Covid Zero

Travelers wanting to get into China will still need to contend with the intricate web of testing and bureaucratic requirements that underpin Covid Zero, tempering optimism that its decision to halve quarantine time signals the country is ready to emerge from an extended isolation. 

While inbound flight schedule data show a marked uptick in planned services each month from July through the end of the year, airlines are yet to lock in arrangements as they lack clarity on whether other travel rules will be eased. Currently, China limits companies to just one international flight a week to any country, caps the number of passengers allowed on aircraft and can suspend flights with little notice under a circuit-breaker rule.