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China will scrap quarantine measures for overseas arrivals starting January 8, health authorities announced Monday, after nearly three years of strict pandemic border restrictions. online news
The National Health Commission announced the downgraded containment measures for Covid-19 in an online notice, adding that travellers would only need a PCR test taken 48 hours pre-flight to enter China.
The announcement is the latest move by Beijing to loosen its zero-Covid regime, after it abruptly dropped mandatory testing and lockdowns earlier this month.
“According to the national health quarantine law, infectious disease quarantine measures will no longer be taken against inbound travellers and goods,” the National Health Commission (NHC) said.
“People must take a PCR test in the 48 hours before arriving in China,” the notice said, adding that restrictions limiting the number of international flights will also be abolished.
The measures will take effect from January 8, when Covid will be downgraded from the top tier of inefectious diseases, Class A, to a second tier Class B, the NHC said in a separate notice Monday.
Unlike most of the rest of the world where people have transitioned to living with the pandemic, China had until recently maintained harsh restrictions and largely sealed itself off.
Since March 2020, all passengers arriving in the country had to undergo at least two weeks of mandatory centralised quarantine, later increased to three weeks.
The measures heavily disrupted international tourism and business travel, further hampering the country’s Covid-battered economy.
Uneven quarantine hotel conditions, harsh visa restrictions and steep flight prices caused by heavily reduced international routes also precipitated a mass exodus of expatriates from the country in recent years.
But earlier this year, China slightly loosened visa restrictions, allowing direct relatives of Chinese citizens to apply for family reunion visas.
An increasing number of world leaders have also visited since the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.
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Notes from APS Radio News
Even as the US was said to be one of the countries most affected by the virus thing, the average mortality rate was .07%, according to Statista.
Statista is an award-winning service that compiles and analyzes various types of data for corporations and governments.
In the US, in previous years, when the influenza virus or the seasonal flu was being recorded, the mortality rate could be as high as .13%.
According to Dr. John Ioannidis, a research scientist and a specialist in evidence-based medicine at Stanford Univerity, for most age groups the recovery rate has been high.
Dr. Ioannidis outlined the average fatality risk as a function of age groups:
“The real-world risk of dying from COVID-19 based on published data from the Irish census bureau and the central statistics office for 2020 and 2021 is as follows: For people
under 70, the death rate was 0.014%; under 50 years of age, it was 0.002%, which equates to a 1 in 50,000 risk, or about the same as dying from fire or smoke inhalation.
Under 25 years of age, the mortality rate was 0.00018%, or 1 in 500,000 risk of dying from COVID-19.”
According to a number of virologists, those who are asymptomatic are rather less likely to be contagious than those who are symptomatic.
In China, compared to the US, fewer people per 100,000 died with or from the virus.
In either country, almost all those who died with the virus had been experiencing chronic health problems or were past the age of 80.
In any event, in countries that imposed lockdowns and various restrictions, there was an increase in the number of suicides, instances of drug abuse, instances of domestic abuse and instances of deferred medical care.
Millions of businesses were closed; many never reopened over a virus that a number of scientists and doctors have said was little worse than the seasonal flu.