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China to Reopen Borders to All Foreign Visitors Wednesday

FILE - An airliner worker asks travelers to declare their health information after checking in at the international flight check in counter at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, Aug. 24, 2022.

China says it will resume issuing visas of all types and reopen its borders to foreign tourists Wednesday, ending the three-year ban imposed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government said Tuesday that visa-free entry will resume for such destinations as Hainan Island, as well as cruise ships entering the central port city of Shanghai, neither of which had any visa requirements before the pandemic. Foreigners who were issued visas before March 28, 2020, when Beijing closed its borders to most overseas visitors, will be allowed to use them to enter the country as long as they have not expired.

Visa-free entry will also resume for foreigners from Hong Kong and the gambling enclave of Macau to enter the southern province of Guangdong.

Beijing abruptly ended the strict “zero-COVID” strategy last December first imposed at the start of the pandemic. The policy included swift and severe lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing in several cities with a significant COVID-19 outbreak. It triggered unusual and intense public protests across many Chinese cities and an economic downturn due to factory shutdowns.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.