China removes asterisk on travel code of visitors of COVID risk areas
Updated 20:41, 29-Jun-2022
Visitors stroll along at the Bund by the side of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, June 4, 2022. /CFP

Visitors stroll along at the Bund by the side of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, June 4, 2022. /CFP

China will no longer flag people who have been, or even just passed by a mid- or high-risk cities or areas in the past 14 days on their digital travel card, according to a statement from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Wednesday.

The previous measure was to put an asterisk mark in cities and areas announced in mid- or high-risks on travelers' digital travel history in the past 14 days which was often used as proof for local authorities to impose curbs or quarantines to the visitors.

It heavily affected the travelers and their willingness to take a trip as their travel card can be marked traced back to the 14-day history – even if they haven't been in contact with the infection or they just drive through the cities that reported new infections days later.

The policy change aims to facilitate travel and boost economic development, the statement said.

The decision has become a hot topic among the internet users on Weibo as many people see such change as a good signal for the society to gradually transform back to normal. While some worry about how the new policy may be executed in different cities.

Many people already responded to the news as the search for flight tickets jumped by 50 percent in 30 minutes after the announcement, according to Chinese travel agency The search for train ticket has surged 1.5 times more than before.

The decision is aligned with a slew of updated policies on the battle against COVID-19 in China as the country has made significant progress in COVID-19 containment and been easing COVID-19 curbs.

On Tuesday, China released a new updated guideline against the virus, slashing the quarantine time for inbound travels to seven days centralized quarantine plus three days of home monitoring, down from previous 21 days in total.

The new guideline also made clear standards to define mid- or high-risk area and how often to conduct nucleic acid tests on different groups of people.

It also helped boost the surge of search for tickets – the search for international tickets on doubled in one hour after the new guideline released, a record high in two years.

In addition, the country has stuck to a precise and dynamic policy on fighting against the virus and stressed local authorities cannot change the prevention policies at their liberty or carry out a stricter guideline, causing unnecessary inconvenience for people.

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