Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on May 19.
(CNN) — If you're planning a trip to China, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic started in China's Hubei province, but early and strict lockdowns originally helped keep the virus under control. However, the Omicron variant has proven challenging, and the government is still pursuing a "zero Covid" strategy.
At present, most visitors are not yet allowed entry to the country.
What's on offer
This is of course one of the world's greatest ancient civilizations. China brought us papermaking, printing, and, of course, tea. Its many dynasties have left their marks in world-famous heritage sites, such as the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an, and ancient towns such as Lijiang. But it's also thoroughly modern, with mushrooming cities and skyscrapers pricking the clouds.
Who can go
China closed its borders to nearly all travelers in March 2020, when the pandemic started spreading throughout Europe.
What are the restrictions?
As of May 20, travelers from the United States and Canada no longer have to take a PCR test seven days before flying to China.
However, some restrictions are still in place. These travelers are still required to take two PCR tests 24-48 hours before going to China (depending on their departure airport) and a pre-flight antigen test.
For the newly qualified entrants, entry depends on having received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines at least 14 days prior to entry. They must apply for a visa in advance, and show their proof of vaccination on arrival, as well as the negative tests.
Arrivals are screened once more at the airport. Those failing the checks will be sent to government facilities. You must then quarantine on arrival. Some regions demand 14 days; others, 21. This might take place at a government facility or at your home.
Would-be travelers must be careful as flights can be canceled at the last minute.
What's the Covid situation?
China has reported 2,376,208 cases and 14,583 deaths as of May 19, 2022. About 89% of the adult population is fully vaccinated.
What can visitors expect?
Life is largely back to normal, but things can change fast in China -- regional lockdowns have been imposed every time there are new outbreaks of the virus.
Case in point: following an outbreak of the Omicron variant in the city of Xi'an, best known for its UNESCO-listed terracotta warriors, in late December 2021, there were extreme measures taken by the regional government.
Anyone visiting China is urged to be flexible as lockdowns can happen to apartment buildings, offices, or even entire neighborhoods with little notice.
Following the significant outbreak in Shanghai in late March and early April, some cities have closed off their connections to the global hub.
Several flights from Singapore to Shanghai were canceled, and Singapore Airlines has reportedly been removing the route from its website so that travelers could not attempt to book tickets.
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