China eases COVID-19 test rules for Canadian travellers, other countries

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: China’s Beijing begins mass testing as lockdown fears grow'
COVID-19: China’s Beijing begins mass testing as lockdown fears grow
WATCH: COVID-19: China's Beijing begins mass testing as lockdown fears grow – Apr 25, 2022

China has eased some COVID-19 testing requirements for people flying from Canada, the United States and other countries, while shortening the pre-departure quarantine for some inbound travellers.

The Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement that starting Saturday, travellers will no longer need a negative RT-PCR test seven days before flying.

Travellers flying out of Canada will still need to take a first test within 48 hours of boarding, and a second test 24 hours before their flight. The tests must be taken at a medical centre recognized by China.

In addition, those travellers must take an antigen test within 12 hours before boarding, which can be administered by any Canada-approved hospital, clinic or pharmacy.

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However, China is dropping the need for antibody tests for travellers coming from Canada and the United States, according to consular notices.

Starting Friday, travellers from Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago will be subject to the same testing rules for Canadian departures.

The slight relaxations were made in response to factors including the “characteristics of coronavirus variants,” according to the notices from Chinese embassies.

Click to play video: 'China’s ‘zero-COVID’ policy sparks tension as Shanghai remains locked down'
China’s ‘zero-COVID’ policy sparks tension as Shanghai remains locked down

Travel in and out of China has plunged during outbreaks of COVID as the country insists on its “dynamic COVID zero” playbook that has involved restrictions on the issue and renewal of passports, mandatory quarantines for most travelers upon arrival, and flight cancellations.

But the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant has allowed for a slight easing of curbs on international travelers. The capital city Beijing has reduced the quarantine period at centralized facilities upon arrival for travelers to 10 days from 14 days.

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The variant has led to several lockdowns of major Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, in an effort to completely curb the spread of the virus.

Embassies in the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Bangladesh said on Wednesday they had removed some testing requirements and shortened the pre-departure quarantine period for employees at Chinese companies to 10 days from 21 days.

Bangladesh has further reduced the pre-flight quarantine for other travelers to five days from seven days, while Serbia has halved the pre-departure quarantine time for certain personnel to one week, according to embassy notices.

–With files from Reuters

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