China to Remove PCR Test Requirement for Inbound Travelers

China will further relax its zero-COVID policies, saying that from Saturday (April 29), inbound travelers will no longer be required to present a negative PCR test and can instead show a negative antigen test result taken within 48 hours prior to boarding, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.

In an effort to remove the virus from the country, China has imposed a variety of anti-virus restrictions during the past three years, including lockdowns and regular mass testing. The measures had a devastating effect on the economy and spurred protests, but in December the government suddenly rolled back and abandoned the quarantine rule altogether.

As part of its efforts to bring back tourists, the country resumed issuing all visa kinds last month. However, it has maintained PCR testing requirements for travelers traveling from specific countries, despite the fact that the high cost of doing so has been a major disincentive for visitors to return.

“To further facilitate cross-border travel, China is taking new steps to refine pre-departure testing requirements guided by the principle of ensuring safe and orderly travel and keeping the measures science-based and well-targeted,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

She added airlines will no longer check test results before departure.