After almost three years, China has finally reopened its borders! The country that was the point of origin for the Covid-19 pandemic has kept its doors shut tight to visitors, but as of January 8th, 2023, they’ve lifted the restrictions. This means land and sea crossings with Hong Kong are now open and incoming visitors no longer have to quarantine for 14 days.
But, before you start packing your bags and booking your tickets, we need to talk about the elephant in the room: is it safe to travel to China right now?
The Chinese government has reported low infection numbers throughout the pandemic, and they were able to keep the spread of the disease under control with strict travel restrictions. However, there were some spikes of infections in April 2022 and more recently in November and December. So, it’s important to approach travel to China with caution.
Government advice for citizens of the Republic of Ireland is still to avoid non-essential travel, if possible. If you are considering traveling internationally, make sure to get comprehensive travel insurance that covers COVID-19. And before you begin booking a trip to China, it is important check to see if you are eligible to enter the country. Irish nationals can only enter China under certain conditions that have been approved by the Chinese Immigration Authorities.
Also, be prepared for some extra steps at the airport. The Chinese Immigration Authorities require a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of boarding your flight and a completed health and customs declaration. You may also be subjected to an antigen test upon arrival.
So, while it may be tempting to plan a trip to China now that the borders are open, it’s important to remember that Covid-19 is still active and non-essential travel should be avoided. Make sure to take all necessary precautions and familiarize yourself with government advice before you go. You can find more information on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. Happy (and safe) travels!