Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in northern China ease restrictions for some travelers from April 30. Entry ban ongoing. Domestic controls continue in some areas.

This alert affects China

This alert began 30 Apr 2020 06:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Mainland China (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport disruptions, health screenings, quarantine measures, business disruptions, supply chain interruptions

Summary
Officials in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province have relaxed domestic entry requirements as of April 30 due to reduced coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Government authorities lowered the (COVID-19) response level from Level I (the most severe level) to Level II April 29. Beijing authorities are no longer requiring people from low-risk areas traveling to the municipality to quarantine for 14 days and have lifted the requirement for those already under self-quarantine in the city. However, people arriving from overseas as well as from high-risk areas, such as Hubei, Heilongjiang, and Guangdong provinces, must still quarantine for 14-days. Similar measures are possible in other major international cities in the country. Officials in Beijing are also allowing some tourist sites, such as libraries and museums, to resume operations, with capacity restrictions. Many entertainment venues, including clubs, gyms, sporting venues, and theaters, remain closed.

Authorities in border provinces continue international movement controls to prevent imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As of April 13, authorities in Yunnan, Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, and Heilongjiang are restricting the movement through land borders with neighboring countries; most travelers, regardless of nationality, are barred from entering or exiting border checkpoints. Cargo transportation remains unaffected by the restrictions.

Local governments could tighten measures in major cities in border provinces if COVID-19 cases increase. Officials in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, continue to implement movement and gathering restrictions as of April 30, following a rise in imported cases that caused dozes of infections in the city. Individuals are required to undergo temperature scans when leaving or entering residential complexes or villages throughout Harbin. Nonresidents are not allowed to enter housing complexes. Nonessential gatherings are banned. City leaders, however, have not imposed widespread transport controls. Increased security is almost certain in any area under enhanced restrictions to enforce the measures, and some business and transport disruptions are possible.

Most internal movement controls have ended. However, mandatory temperature checks and other health screenings continue at transport hubs nationwide. Health screenings are increasing passenger clearance times at airports, train stations, and subway stations. Temperature checks are occurring at college and school campuses and businesses. Most local governments continue to require people to wear face masks in public. Stricter measures may be reintroduced at the local level if significant outbreaks occur.

Production has restarted at most industrial facilities, though some localized disruptions continue. Authorities in many locations require workers to undergo health screenings and testing before resuming work in factories. Many businesses continue to restrict operating hours and implement work-from-home policies. Reports suggest that some companies are overestimating production to meet national government targets. Supply chain and other business disruptions may continue in many locations in the coming weeks. Officials have reopened most tourist and leisure venues, and schools have opened in most provinces and municipalities.

Authorities continue to limit Chinese airlines to one route per week to one city per foreign country. Foreign airlines may only fly one weekly route to a destination in China. Both inbound and outbound flights are allowed to operate at 75-percent capacity or less. The restrictions will continue to prompt significant flight cancellations for international services. Many airlines have suspended services to and from China due to health concerns and significantly decreased demand.

Several national governments have advised citizens to postpone nonessential travel to all parts of mainland China. Numerous governments have also indefinitely banned Chinese nationals and foreign nationals who have recently visited China from entering their countries. However, foreign governments may begin to adjust those measures in the coming days as conditions continue to improve in mainland China.

Travel Restrictions

Authorities continue to ban most foreign nationals from entering China indefinitely, with exceptions for diplomatic personnel and holders of C visas, which are generally issued to members of flight and shipping crews. Officials will also allow "fast track" entry for business travelers from South Korea to 10 Chinese locations from May 1, though flights are only operating to Shanghai and Liaoning, Shandong, Jiangsu, and Anhui provinces as of April 30. Passengers must have an invitation from a Chinese business to qualify for entry. Approved travelers will have to undergo testing in South Korea within 72 hours of travel and undergo testing again during a one or two-day quarantine in China. Foreign nationals present in China before the ban are not required to leave the country. Authorities in many provinces, municipalities, and ethnic autonomous regions are enforcing quarantine measures for international travelers. Officials are generally allowing nonresident passengers to stay in government-designated hotels at their own cost. While most quarantine periods are 14 days, some cities in border areas, such as Harbin and Suifenhe, Heilongjiang Province, and Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, are requiring inbound travelers to self-quarantine and medical observation for an additional 14 days. Authorities continue to conduct health screenings, including body temperature scans, on all inbound passengers from international locations at ports of entry nationwide. As of April 1, officials are conducting nucleic acid testing for all arriving travelers at ports of entry nationwide. Inbound Chinese nationals must also provide health information through the WeChat mobile phone app before boarding flights.

Officials in Beijing continue to divert some international flights to nearby cities, where passengers receive health scans; symptomatic passengers receive treatment locally. Asymptomatic passengers are then allowed to continue to Beijing. All inbound international flights must land at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK), where passengers will undergo further health assessments and review their travel history with authorities before going into quarantine. The municipal government allows some travelers in specific categories to self-quarantine; residents who live alone, travelers over 70 years old, pregnant women, and travelers with underlying conditions may seek permission to stay at home.

Advice
Unless repatriating, consider postponing nonessential travel to mainland China. Confirm all scheduled international flights. Follow all official instructions and closely monitor official announcements on any other precautionary restrictions. To the extent possible, avoid crowded areas as a precaution. Confirm all travel and business reservations. Allow additional travel time due to screenings at airports, train stations, and other transport hubs. Make allowances for likely supply chain and other business disruptions.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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