The National Immigration Administration (NIA) announced in a statement on Thursday that it will “strictly restrict” Chinese citizens from traveling abroad for non-essential reasons.
The statement came as the country continues to expand its pandemic prevention and control measures in pursuit of ‘dynamic zero-COVID.’
The NIA said they would be “implementing a strict and tight immigration policy” on all Chinese citizens by strictly controlling the approval and issuance of entry and exit documents, including passports.
The announcement went on to say that China needed to prevent people from bringing the virus into the country, but didn’t elaborate any further, according to Sup China.
China still has a small number of daily imported COVID-19 cases, despite entry to the country being strictly controlled.
Today (Friday, May 13) Shenzhen reported 6 imported cases from Hong Kong and Japan, while Shanghai reported 2 imported cases from the United States.
The source of the current COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai is the Huating Hotel & Towers in Xujiahui, one of the designated quarantine hotels for inbound travelers, the government has concluded.
The strain is the highly-infectious Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, and the virus continues to spread despite the majority of residents being confined to their homes.
According to Sup China, “74 million international travelers entered and exited the Chinese mainland last year, almost a 79% drop compared with pre-pandemic levels.”
In the first half of last year, China only issued 335,000 passports, 2% of the 2019 total.
China is currently battling its most serious outbreak of COVID-19 since the virus was first discovered in Wuhan in early 2020.
In response, the country has decided to double down on its ‘zero-COVID’ strategy, which seeks to eliminate the spread of the virus rather than ‘living with it.’
[Cover image via Weibo@共青团娄底]