Travel Advice China 2020: the latest update

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china travel advice

Travel Advice China 2020 as at 13th August 2020


On 12th March 2020 the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. This led to travel restrictions and border closures around the world and now, in June, we are starting to see these restrictions easing and people looking again to book holidays. Travel restrictions in each country vary and here, at, we want to ensure that you, our customers, are provided with the latest travel advice for the key destinations favoured by you.


The first cases of Coronavirus19 (COVID-19) were confirmed in the city of Wuhan, China on 31st December 2019 and since then, it has proceeded to spread to 215 countries and territories with over 20,162,474 people so far testing positive for the virus. (Source: WHO)

China confirmed its first internally transmitted cases of COVID-19 on 31 December 2019 and by 13th August 84,756 cases and 4,645 deaths had been declared. (Source: WHO)


What is COVID-19?


COVID-19 is a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. This virus is a type of coronavirus which can cause illness in animals and humans. Coronavirus infections in humans can result in coryzal symptoms as seen in a common cold and more severe respiratory symptoms such as pneumonia. In recent years, we have seen outbreaks of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).


SARS-CoV-2 is the most recently discovered type of coronavirus and it is spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth. The method of transmission is often via cough, sneeze or exhalation. People breathing in these droplets or touching the surfaces these droplets land on and who touch their eyes, nose or mouth are at risk of developing COVID-19.


The World Health Organisation continues to assess ongoing research on the means of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 but general advice is to maintain distance from others, regularly wash hands and avoid touching your face.


Many countries have implemented temporary travel restrictions and COVID-19 has impacted on events and activities. In the travel advice newsletter, we will endeavour to provide you with the latest travel advice on key destinations.


Current Travel Advice for China, as at 13th August 2020


Is it safe to travel to China in 2020?


With China relaxing its lockdown measures resulting in train reservations doubling and hotel bookings increasing by 60% there was hope that travel to and from China would gradually increase with suggestions that the city of Wuhan would soon have its restrictions lifted. 


However, fears of a second wave fuelled by a resurgence in cases has resulted in China continuing to suspend entry to most foreign nationals, including those who possess:


  • Chinese visa
  • Residence permit
  • APEC business travel card
  • Port visa


The exceptions to these measures include holders of Diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visas; and new visa applications awarded by Chinese embassies or consulates overseas after the announcement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 


The number of direct international flights has reduced significantly. If you are currently in China, leave as soon as possible by commercial means.


From 28 March China will refuse entry to foreigners holding visas and residence permits issued before 26 March. China has suspended all visas on arrival, including transit visas.


On 12 August, The PRC Embassy in Denmark announced that China will allow eligible foreign nationals from 36 European countries to apply for new Chinese visas at any Chinese embassy or consulate within the stipulated countries.


All international passenger flights to Beijing will be diverted to 16 designated airports in Chengdu, Changsha, Hefei, Lanzhou, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Hohhot, Jinan, Qingdao, Nanjing, Shenyang, Dalian, Zhengzhou, Xi’an and Wuhan. A small number of international flights are also operating direct between European cities and Shanghai, Guangzhou and Qingdao. International passengers are subject to health checks, including during transit, followed by a mandatory 14 day quarantine period which is to be covered by the passenger.


This page will have updates for the latest travel advice for China.


Flight changes to and from China


With much of the world placing restrictions on flights from China since the start of the outbreak, Chinese airlines such as China Eastern Airlines have been using their airplanes to transport vital equipment and personnel to counties in need. 


Air China, like many other airlines, is currently operating a skeletal international and domestic service with capacity dropping by 95% and 40% respectively on corresponding capacity in 2010.


However, in a remarkable sign of confidence, Air China has announced its intentions for domestic schedules for the week-long May holidays that almost match the capacity of 2019 levels.


Cancelled events in China


With China being the early epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, many events fell victim to infection fears. 


In the months ahead, badminton’s Asia Championships, scheduled for 21-26 April have been moved to the Philippines. The women’s Xi’an Tennis Open, scheduled for 13 to 19 April , has been cancelled while, in golf, the Volvo China Open has been postponed. In athletics, the Diamond League meetings have been cancelled.


With the spread of the virus slowing, some Chinese museums have now started to reopen.


Coronavirus19 (COVID-19) FAQ – Travel


Question: Should I cancel my vacation to China?

Answer: In many countries, non-essential travel is being discouraged with the pandemic being a constantly evolving and changing situation. You should check for latest updates on travel advice for both your country of departure and your destination via respected Government websites and the travel advice newsletter. With refundable bookings on you can be assured that if you do need to cancel your vacation that you will be refunded.


Question: If I decide to travel to China, are there any precautions that can be taken to minimise the risk of infection?


  • Avoid contact with people displaying symptoms.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with hands, especially if unwashed.
  • Make sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • While the focus is on COVID-19 please ensure that you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.


Question: Is there an increased risk of infection whilst travelling by air?

Answer: Due to how air is filtered and circulated on airplanes, many viruses and germs do not spread easily. Many countries now also operate immigration medical checks to identify any passengers who may pose a risk.


Question: Should travellers wear masks in China?

Answer: Anyone who displays symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to wear a mask as it restricts the spread of the virus. For the uninfected, the wearing of masks is not deemed to significantly reduce the risk of infection, but you may wish to consider the customs of your destination. For instance, all passengers travelling on trains in China must wear a face mask while they are encouraged on all other modes of transport.


Question: What can I expect on arriving and departing at airports?

In some countries screening for all passengers entering and leaving their country is being conducted. Before being allowed to board a flight, you may be questioned about your health and your travel history and have your temperature taken.


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