Leaving Beijing? Take Note of These (Complicated) COVID-19 Rules

By Alistair Baker-Brian, October 29, 2021

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Beijing’s recent COVID-19 cases have led authorities to introduce new rules for those leaving and (re-) entering the city. 

Read below to get answers to some key questions.

‘Can I leave Beijing?’

Beijing residents are advised to avoid leaving Beijing unless absolutely necessary. 

However, most people in the city are permitted to travel as long as the individual in question’s Beijing Health Kit (北京健康宝) and travel code (行程卡) are both green.

As of press time, Beijing has one mid-risk and one high-risk area, both located in Changping district. Rules are different for anyone who resides in these areas.

As has been the case during other outbreaks, those leaving the city should not travel to high- or mid-risk areas, nor should they travel to areas where one or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported. 

This is because, as we will find out below, travel to these areas will affect your ability to return to Beijing.

‘I don’t have 14-day travel history to areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Can I return to Beijing?’

As long as your Beijing Health Kit and travel code are green, you can return to Beijing without restrictions. 

However, after returning to Beijing, don’t discount the possibility that you may be asked to undergo ‘health monitoring,’ or quarantine at home or in a centralized facility. 

This may happen if, within 14 days of arriving in Beijing, an area from which you returned reports cases or is declared mid- or high-risk. Keep checking your Beijing Health Kit and travel code. 

‘An area I traveled to has reported one or more confirmed COVID-19 cases. Can I return to Beijing?’

This is where it gets complicated. 

The bottom line is this; you must have a green Beijing Health Kit and travel code to return to Beijing. 

The official policy states that those in or with 14-day travel history to counties (县) outside of Beijing where at least one or more cases have been reported, are not allowed to enter Beijing, as reported by China Daily

Those from counties (县) which don’t have cases but which belong to cities where infections are reported elsewhere, can enter Beijing, although only if necessary. However, you must have proof of a negative nucleic acid test issued within 48 hours, as well as a green Beijing Health Kit and travel code to return to Beijing.

You must also undergo 14 days of ‘health monitoring’ upon return to Beijing. 

‘I'm confused!’

With rules so complicated even for the most adept China-watcher, it is probably best to re-iterate this advice; avoid leaving Beijing unless absolutely necessary.


Meanwhile, three chains of infection have been identified regarding the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the capital. 

The first is connected to a passenger on a train from Gansu province which arrived in Beijing on October 15. The passenger has been linked to cases in Fengtai district. 

The second is connected to those who returned from a road trip in Inner Mongolia. The infected individuals have been linked to cases in Changping district. 

The third also regards a group who took a road trip to Inner Mongolia and have been linked to cases in Fengtai district. 

Other recent measures introduced in Beijing have included a temporary halt to inter-provincial tour groups, a requirement for parks and other scenic spots to operate at 75% capacity, and more, as announced at the 251st Press Conference on Pandemic Control by the city's Information Office. 

Strict COVID-19 measures in the capital won’t go away anytime soon. 


[Cover image via Pixabay]

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