China to resume issuing visas to foreigners
BEIJING (Reuters) – China will start issuing visas to all categories of foreigners on Wednesday, marking the final step in reopening national borders after three years of strict health measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The move comes after officials announced last month they had successfully halted a recent resurgence of COVID-19, raising hopes of a rebound in the world’s second-largest economy, whose growth was the weakest since last year. almost five decades.
The Ministry of External Affairs has indicated that regions of the country that did not require visas before the health crisis will once again be freely accessible.
Foreigners living in Hong Kong and Macau will once again be able to travel to mainland China without an entry visa.
Beijing abruptly ended its “zero COVID” policy in December, before reopening China’s borders in January and withdrawing its outbound travel warning. This has allowed a significant return to travel, especially with the Lunar New Year festivities.
New Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday praised the policy adopted by Beijing, which he said had managed to achieve a “smooth transition” in less than two months to exit from health restrictions.
Speaking at the end of the annual plenary session of Parliament, he said the strategy and measures decided by the authorities were entirely correct.
(Reporting by Bernard Orr, Ryan Wu and Wang Jing; French editing by Jean Terzien)