China is to lift the requirement for international travelers to self-quarantine from January 8 in the final pause of its zero-COVID policy after the protests.

The rule, which requires arrivals to quarantine for five days in a hotel and three days at home, has already been reduced from previous requirements to quarantine for up to three weeks.

When the requirement is lifted next month, travelers to China will still need a negative COVID-19[feminine] test 48 hours before departure, the health commission said.

The government has backtracked significantly on restrictive COVID-19 lockdown policies in recent weeks after public protest End of november.

The change was made amid a broader downgrade in the risk posed by the virus in the country as the economy weakened and the Chinese public grew weary of strict lockdowns.

Following the rollback, authorities estimated that 250 million people likely contracted the virus in the first 20 days of December, leaked notes showed.

Last week, China’s largest city, Shanghai, had 5.43 million positive cases among its 25 million inhabitants.

Millions could die due to the relatively low number of fully immunized people in the country.

But the actual number of positive cases may not be revealed as asymptomatic cases are no longer registered by Chinese officials.

The world’s second largest economy had effectively been cut off from the world for almost three years. An effective ban on international tourism had been in place since early 2020.

The latest policy change paves the way for greater economic recovery, once the wave of infections has passed.

Li Keqiang, China’s premier and second most powerful person, had publicly acknowledged the financial damage caused by the pandemic and said easing strict lockdown rules help the economy “recover”.

China had pledged to improve the economy next year, after growth slowed due to prolonged shutdowns, and economists reported seeing signals of focus on rising gross domestic product, a measure of economic activity.

Retail sales had fallen nearly 6% in the year to November, worse than analysts expected. The economy is on course to miss its 5.5% annual growth target, already the lowest target in decades.

China has managed to avoid the waves of infections experienced by almost every country in the world thanks to its strict containment program.

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