Is It Safe to Travel to China?

Daily Life In Beijing Amid COVID?19
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While China is seeing fewer cases of the novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), new information has come to light regarding the number of reported fatalities in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus began.

As of Thursday, April 16, China has revised the death toll of COVID-19 in Wuhan up by 50 percent. The Wuhan municipal headquarters for COVID-19 reported 3,869 fatalities (up from 2,579) and 50,333 confirmed cases (up from 50,008).

This report comes after Wuhan lifted their 76-day lockdown on April 8, thereby allowing residents to leave and enter without the necessary paperwork. The rest of Hubei Province opened back up on Wednesday, March 25.

Approximately 94 percent of restaurants and businesses throughout Wuhan have reopened; schools, however, remain closed, and residents are still encouraged to stay home.

For travelers who have plans to travel to China or others who are considering it, there are still questions about whether it's safe and what to expect regarding quarantine procedures.

Travel Restrictions and Regulations in China

Since March 29, 2020, Chinese aviation authorities have limited U.S. airlines to only one air route to China, with no more than one flight each week.

Beijing has ramped up their restrictions in an effort to curtail the number of imported cases of COVID-19. As such, the city has been diverting all incoming international flights to other regional airports, where passengers are to undergo testing for coronavirus. Foreign travelers who miss their connection must leave China.

Restrictions are changing weekly if not daily in China. For some cities and provinces, regulations depend on what city you are traveling to and where you have been in the past 14 days. For others, quarantines are mandatory, regardless of travelers' points of origin. In every city, though, U.S. citizens must be screened upon arrival.

If you are placed into quarantine, be prepared to spend up to 14 days in a government-approved facility or budget hotel at your own expense.

Quarantines are enforced at the neighborhood level, and procedure can vary by neighborhood. Those under quarantine will most likely be monitored by local authorities, and you may be required to install tracking software on your phone. Food delivery, mail, and garbage services will still be available to those in quarantine.

U.S. Government Advisories

Currently, the U.S. State Department has placed China under a Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest level of advisory possible, meaning U.S. citizens and residents “should not travel.” This does not include Hong Kong, Macao, or Taiwan. U.S. citizens and residents who are returning from China will be routed to one of 11 specially designated U.S. airports where health screenings will be conducted upon arrival.

U.S. citizens who have been in China in the past 14 days will be screened for symptoms and may be placed in a quarantine for up to 14 days. Foreign nationals who have been in China in the last 14 days cannot enter the U.S.

Should You Travel to China?

In short, now is not the best time to go to China, but if you must, be prepared for a 14-day quarantine, possibly both there and upon your return to the U.S. Also keep in mind that the frequency and number of flights to America have been greatly reduced. Decreasing numbers of new confirmed cases in China are encouraging, but as the country is still home to the largest numbers of the outbreak, it's best to postpone or cancel your travel plans for the near future unless they're absolutely necessary.

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