Following on from Beijing, who announced it would extend the quarantine period for overseas arrivals from 14 to 21 days at the end of last month, more and more cities and provinces across China have started to adopt the new 14+7 policy.
The measures come amid news of overseas arrivals testing positive even after a 14-day quarantine had been completed. On December 14, an arrival from Hong Kong tested positive in Beijing two days after his quarantine period ended.
More recently, a British teacher tested positive in Hangzhou on January 5. The teacher had previously completed a 14-day quarantine period in Guangzhou, following which he had tested negative.
So what exactly do these new rules entail? Here, we offer some key points (please note, they may vary from one administrative region to another):
All overseas arrivals will be quarantined in centralized isolation for 14 days.
Arrivals will be tested for COVID-19 a total of four times, a nucleic acid test being performed on the first, seventh, 14th – and then again on the 21st day after entry.
For those entering from countries and regions where new variant viruses have been discovered, such as the UK, nucleic acid tests will be performed a total of five times: on the first, fourth, seventh, 14th and 21st day.
If any person, item, or part of the surrounding environment on an inbound flight tests positive for COVID-19 during the compulsory 14-day quarantine period, arrivals with no positive COVID-19 tests can apply for seven-day home quarantine if they meet certain conditions. If conditions are not met, they must undergo a further seven-day quarantine in the same location.
Those who, under the above circumstances, successfully apply for seven-day home quarantine will be taken in an isolated non-contact environment to their home, but cannot leave their home during the seven-day period.
If all persons, items and parts of the surrounding environment on an inbound flight test negative for COVID-19 at customs and during the entire 14-day quarantine period, arrivals can apply for ‘health monitoring’ or ‘community management’ at home if they meet certain conditions. If conditions are not met, they must undergo a further seven-day quarantine in the same location.
During the ‘health monitoring’ period, arrivals must report their health status to their local community on a daily basis. Arrivals can leave their homes at this time but must not partake in large gatherings.
Closed-off ‘community management’ could include minimizing entrance numbers, setting up checking points, issuing entry permits, supervising face mask wearing, enhancing health monitoring and registering personnel and vehicles passing through.
Those who have special circumstances such as the elderly, children, sick, disabled, or pregnant need to report to the district headquarters for approval.
If all this isn’t complicated enough, some regions have introduced a 14+7+7 policy, and others a 14+14 policy (14 days centralized isolation, plus 14 day home isolation/health monitoring/community management of different combinations). So best to check the local rules of the administrative region you are traveling to ahead of arrival.
[Cover Image via NIAID-RML]