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Asia Minute: Chinese travel plans are complicated by sharp rise in COVID cases

Europe Virus Outbreak
Aurelien Morissard
Passengers arriving from China wait in front of a COVID-19 testing area set at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.

Chinese tourists are coming back.

After virtually shutting down during the pandemic, the central government has made outbound travel much easier.

The timing is challenging — many of China's largest cities are wracked with COVID-19 cases and the World Health Organization said the leadership in Beijing is severely misrepresenting the size of the outbreaks.

Still, the government has loosened travel restrictions, including quarantine for residents returning from international travel.

Many countries are requiring negative COVID tests before Chinese are allowed entry.

Others are making plans to welcome Chinese visitors for the Lunar New Year, which begins two weeks from Sunday.

In Thailand, the beach resorts of Pattaya and Phuket are preparing for more Chinese travelers.

Other destinations remain cautious.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a news conference that the government is asking airlines to limit additional flights from China.

Japan's Health Ministry said 56 arriving international travelers tested positive for COVID on Tuesday. 53 travelers were from China.

South Korea's Disease Control and Prevention Agency says 172 international travelers tested positive for COVID on Tuesday, and more than three quarters of them were from China.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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