China ends 'zero-COVID' policy

China has marked an end to its strict "zero-COVID" policy and lifted its anti-coronavirus measures.

This move comes amid an explosive surge in cases of the virus that shows no sign of slowing. Inbound travelers no longer need to go through quarantine or PCR test requirements when entering the country.

At an airport in Shanghai, passengers arriving on flights from Japan, South Korea and elsewhere face much easier procedures.

A Japanese man said, "I'm so glad quarantine requirements have been dropped. I think business will become more active as the movement of people expands."

But travelers still need to show pre-departure virus test results. Chinese officials are no longer forcing lockdowns of entire neighborhoods. And people who test positive for the virus no longer have to isolate themselves. Outbound travel by Chinese nationals is expected to resume in stages.

The drastic changes come ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday that begins in two weeks. About 2 billion people are expected to travel for the occasion.

However, many other countries are on edge about travel to and from China.

On Sunday, Japan tightened border controls for people coming from the mainland. They are now required to show negative pre-departure test results and take another test upon arrival.

At Narita Airport near Tokyo, there was a long line of people arriving from China.

A traveler from China said, "I think the measures are designed to ensure people's safety. The entry process is now a little complicated but it's bearable."

European nations are also increasing their vigilance.
Germany is calling on citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China. Officials say visitors may be unable to get sufficient medical treatment in an emergency.