Is it safe to travel to China?

Almost three years after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, on January 8th, 2023, China finally reopened its borders. The point of origin for the Covid-19 pandemic, in the south-eastern city of Wuhan, China had kept its borders all but shut over the duration of the pandemic, keeping visitors out and its citizens in as an attempt to curtail the effects of Covid-19. The second Sunday of 2023 saw China open land and sea crossings with Hong Kong and end a near three-year requirement of incoming visitors to quarantine for 14 days. While the lifting of travel restrictions will be of particular welcome to many people both in and outside China, the question must be asked, how safe is it to travel to China?

Though China is where Covid-19 originated before being spread worldwide, for the majority of the pandemic, infection numbers in the country remained low, according to figures provided by the Chinese government. Despite having the highest population of any country in the world, China was able to limit the spread of the disease thanks to strict travel restrictions imposed on its citizens. However, the country did experience spikes of infections in April 2022, and more recently at the end of November and start of December.

Despite the easing of restrictions entering China, government advice for the Republic of Ireland citizens is still to avoid non-essential travel where possible. People who are considering international travel in general are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance that covers COVID-19 in order to account for the continued risk of testing positive for the disease while abroad. Before travelling to the People’s Republic of China, the Department of Foreign Affairs advises to check your eligibility to travel to the country as Irish nationals are only allowed to enter China from abroad under certain conditions that have been approved by the Chinese Immigration Authorities.

The Chinese Immigration Authorities also require a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of boarding flights to China as well as a finished health and customs declaration from anybody who has been granted permission to go to China. You may also be subjected to an antigen test upon arrival.

In summary, travel to China should still be approached with a deal of caution. Covid-19 is still significantly active and non-essential travel should still be avoided while this is still the case. Those who are planning a trip to China should take all the necessary precautions possible to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19 and familiar themselves with government advice that can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

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For comments / interview opportunities, please contact Colm McDonnell,, +353 860111871