Big, big news, people – more and more Chinese embassies around the world are announcing that, starting from tomorrow, March 1, passengers taking a flight to China will no longer need to do a mandatory PCR test.
The PCR test can be replaced with a rapid antigen test (RAT), which not only allows for self-testing, but won't even be checked by the airline at the point of departure.
The six countries (we know of) that have so far announced the new measures are:
We can only assume (hope... pray... beg!) that more and more embassies will be announcing the same.
Please do note, however, that anyone traveling to the mainland still needs to fill out China's Customs Declaration, which requires a negative RAT 48 hours before arriving.
Interestingly, the Customs Declaration now only "suggests" that people traveling by plane wear a mask. This was previously mandatory.
Speaking of mask mandates...
Hong Kong & Macao Ditch Mask Mandate
From Wednesday, March 1, facemasks will no longer be mandatory in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), as the city ditches its sole remaining COVID-19 restriction.
The announcement was made by Chief Executive John Lee at an Executive Council news briefing on Monday. He quoted the move as another step toward “returning to normalcy.”
Facemasks will no longer be mandatory in most indoor and outdoor venues as well as on public transport.
On Sunday, February 26, the Macao Special Administrative Government also announced that people in the city would no longer be required to wear masks outside from Monday.
However, masks still need to be worn in Macao by patients, staff and visitors in medical institutions, visitors of elderly people in rehabilitation centers or care homes and drivers and passengers on public transport (except taxis).
Macao’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center said that mask-wearing requirements could be adjusted in the future according to “the actual development of the COVID-19 situation.”
The mask mandate was enacted in Hong Kong on July 15, 2020, following an outbreak of COVID-19 in the city, although most people were already voluntarily wearing face coverings.
Hong Kong was one of the world’s last remaining cities to still impose a mask mandate. Several other countries and regions in Asia, including Japan and South Korea, have already abandoned similar measures.
The move leaves the Chinese mainland as one of the few places on earth still requiring people to wear a mask when taking public transport.
Will the Chinese mainland follow suit and ditch the mask mandate? Surely a positive sign that they could.
[Cover image via Wikimedia]
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