What is the Travel Advisory for China During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

By  //  November 24, 2020

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If you are an American planning to travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should be aware that there are still a number of restrictions and safety measures in place to contain the spread of the virus.

However, while Chinese citizens, including those holding a valid visa and approved EVUS, are not permitted to enter the United States if they have been in China within the past 14 days, Americans holding a valid Chinese residence permit or other visa type are still permitted to travel to the country.

The Current Situation regarding COVID-19 in China

Despite a high number of cases of COVID-19 in China, commercial flights to the country from the US have now resumed, although travelers are advised to contact their airline directly for flight options before making any bookings.

All restrictions on intercity or interstate travel in the PRC, as well as curfews, have been lifted. However, it is still possible that travel restrictions for China could be implemented with little to no notice and flight delays and cancellations are still possible.

Mandatory preventive measures against the spread of the virus vary from region to region, but large gatherings are still permitted in many provinces and grocery stores, restaurants, and hospitals remain open.

However, most travelers can expect to be required to wear a mask, download health tracking apps on their cell phone, and provide personal contact information in order to take public transportation and access tourist locations or other public spaces.

Travel Recommendations for China during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently asking Americans to reconsider traveling to the People’s Republic, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also urged Americans not to travel due to COVID-19, and issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the PRC and Hong Kong.

Those at increased risk of severe illness, including older people and those with existing medical conditions, are especially encouraged to postpone any travel to a later date.

Any Americans who live with people at increased risk of severe illness are also discouraged from traveling to China, as they could spread the virus to their family and friends upon return without realizing it.

The CDC currently advises anyone who does need to visit China from the US to observe the following preventative travel measures to stay safe:

Wear a cloth face mask

Cover coughs and sneezes

Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth

Maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) from others as much as possible and avoid contact with anyone who is sick

Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces, and use hand sanitizer or wash hands after touching

Wash hands frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing.

The ideal procedure for the latter is to wash hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Hands should also be dried thoroughly immediately after washing.

Travel Restrictions for Americans Entering China during COVID-19

Travel to China is currently banned for US citizens, with the exception of Americans with valid residence permits and visas for the People’s Republic.

Chinese authorities increased the requirements for passengers traveling to China from the United States on November 6th. Travelers arriving from the United States are now required to:

Take nucleic acid and IgM antibody tests at a testing institution in the U.S. within 48 hours before boarding a direct flight to China.

Take both tests a second time in the last transit country within 48 hours before boarding the plane to China, if transiting in a third country en route.

Submit the certificates of negative tests of both tests to the relevant Chinese embassy or Consulate page online in advance of departure, and apply for a green health code with the “HS” mark, or a certified health declaration form.

Undergo medical screening on arrival.

US citizens in China on a visa or residence permit may contact the nearest office of the Exit-Entry Bureau (EEB) to apply for an extension, which are granted on a case-by-case basis.

Students planning to visit China to undertake a course in a higher education institution should be aware that US study abroad programs are currently suspended in China due to coronavirus.

Are U.S. Citizens Required to Quarantine in China?

In addition to undergoing health screening on arrival in China, US citizens are also required to self isolate for 14 days. The quarantine may need to be undertaken at a government-designated facility or hotel at the traveler’s own expense, even if they have their own main residence in China.

If you do travel to China and are placed in quarantine, you should contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate and provide your name, passport number, and location, as it is unlikely that local authorities will contact US consular representatives on your behalf.