While Zero Covid protocols remain strictly in force as the official response to the Covid-19 virus throughout China, the government also defines its policies as “Dynamic Zero.”
In that context, China is introducing gradual, selective, closely monitored easing measures with the expectation of more streamlined and efficient restrictions (supported by new government health mandates) and a potentially more open China in 2023.
Note the management of Covid-19 in China is subject to daily updates; all information provided herein is deemed reliable but not guaranteed, based on the most recent reporting.
Here are some key facts specific to the policy changes:
Quarantine measures upon arrival have been reduced, and policies around testing of close contacts are being revised as well.
Throughout November, China continued to see sporadic Covid outbreaks and regional lockdowns in some key cities, notably Guangzhou, and partial lockdowns in Beijing, while other major international business destinations, including Shanghai, continued for the most part with a more ‘normal’ standard of daily living, even though infections continue to spike sporadically
All locals and those arriving and departing locally into and within China are still required to produce 48/72 hours negative PCR test results to use public transport and access certain public places, including athletic training centers, gyms, and performance spaces/arenas.
Testing is provided on a widespread basis.
What is daily life like for expatriates in China right now?
From our Dwellworks and Dwellworks Living perspective, Destination Services, and Temporary Accommodations support for global travelers and relocating professionals are back to normal in Shanghai and Beijing.
Visa and Immigration applications are working normally, with no unusual delays or restrictions. Chinese Embassies and Consulates in multiple countries have announced that foreigners who are holding valid APEC business travel cards and student visas/permits are now able to enter China.
Chinese immigration authorities have resumed issuing student visa X1 for foreign students and S1/2 visas for their family dependents from many qualifying countries. For a deeper dive, see our blog, Global Mobility in Asia Pacific Part 2.
One PCR Covid test is required within 48 hours prior to arrival in China. Test results are tracked as a health code in the official government app. Travelers and assignees and their families should check with their airlines for any specific requirements well before their departure.
China has removed the “flight ban” for airlines that exceeded 5 cases per arrival flight, making the flights into the country more predictable with fewer cancellations.
Upon arrival, all passengers are placed into mandatory, government-organized quarantine. Under the most recent regulations, (effective mid-November 2022), 5 days central quarantine + 3 days home quarantine policy are required China-wide.
If a passenger does not have a registered lease and an address in China (note: hotels and temporary accommodations do not qualify as a registered address), a total of 8 days will be carried out in the central quarantine facility.
The specifics of the quarantine management process may differ/be extended in different cities, and it is best to be checked case by case. The Dwellworks team can provide quarantine support services upon client request.
In most cities, as noted, going to public places including parks, shopping malls, and big markets, and taking public transportation still requires 48/72 hours of PCR test results.
In Shenzhen, specifically, 24/48 hours PCR test results are required for accessing public places and public transport. Many areas of Guangzhou (population approximately 15 million) were placed under lockdown in early November.
More recent developments in Beijing have led to partial lockdowns. As a result, schools are back to online learning, and most restaurants are only open for food delivery. Beijingers are getting tested every 48-72 hours and we expect the city to be back to normal in 1-2 weeks' time.
While the lockdowns across other parts of the country have largely been lifted, at present a limited number of districts are still under lockdown as well as some specific neighborhoods.
Throughout China, leisure life can be restricted including gyms and cinemas depending on which district you are located at. Domestic travel has been restored significantly with some limitations, and the number of international flights continues to increase.
Local and international schools in Shanghai and other major cities are operating normally with normal in-classroom lessons. In the event of an outbreak, temporary adjustments such as online learning may be made at the district or community level, as was recently done in Beijing.
As one of the world’s major financial centers, Hong Kong is working aggressively to re-establish norms for business travel and expatriate assignments that are key contributors to its economy.
We’ve included some key updates below. For a deeper dive, see our blog, Global Mobility in Asia Pacific Part 2.
Dwellworks and Dwellworks Living offer full service, customized destination services, homefinding, and temporary accommodations support in Hong Kong. All services are offered without Covid-19 related restrictions.
What is daily life like for expatriates in Hong Kong right now?
The travel ban for non-Hong Kong residents has been lifted, provided travelers are fully vaccinated. Children under 12 are exempt.
Non-Hong Kong residents boarding planes for Hong Kong no longer have to present proof of a negative nucleic acid test result before departure.
Instead, a declaration of a negative test result from a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours before departure is sufficient.
On arrival in Hong Kong, travelers are no longer required to isolate in a designated quarantine hotel. Instead, travelers may leave the airport by self-arranged transport after undergoing a nucleic acid test and are subject to a “0+3” arrangement where they are not required to quarantine but are required to undergo 3 days of “medical surveillance,” either at home, a serviced apartment, or a hotel of their choosing.
During the period of medical surveillance, individuals are free to go out, but they are under “Amber Code” restrictions on their Vaccine Pass on the LeaveHomeSafe app.
Under an “Amber Code,” an individual cannot dine in restaurants or enter bars and gyms; however, access to office buildings for work is allowed. The 3-day medical surveillance period will be followed by a 4-day self-monitoring period.
During the total 7-day observation period, individuals are required to conduct daily rapid antigen tests and to undergo nucleic acid tests at a community testing center or a mobile specimen collection station on days 2, 4, and 6 after arrival.
Provided that the day 2 nucleic acid test yields a negative test result, individuals are issued a “Blue Code” and are longer subject to “Amber Code” restrictions.
Mask-wearing is still required in public places and on public transportation, however, not for outdoor exercise. Use of the LeaveHomeSafe app to enter premises is mandatory as is a valid Vaccine Pass.
The 2022/23 academic year is well underway with face-to-face, full-day classes. Masks remain mandatory and social distancing measures continue to be in place.
These procedures are routinely updated as per Government recommendations. Admissions offices are receiving applications as usual and are offering virtual or in-person tours to prospective parents.
Dwellworks provides destination services and temporary living solutions for tens of thousands of customers every year. Visit our homepage, learn about our services, and read our blogs to learn how we can help with your corporate relocation and business travel.