China will scrap quarantine for international travellers from January 8 next year, according to an official announcement here on Monday, in a significant step for the country as it reopens its international borders and comes out of international isolation after nearly three years.

China is also poised to downgrade Covid-19 from Class A to B management.

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These announcements come at a time when the country is grappling with a sudden spurt in coronavirus infections fuelled by the Omicron variants after the Xi Jinping regime relaxed its stringent zero-Covid policy earlier this month following a wave of anti-government protests.

China will cancel inbound quarantine for international arrivals starting from January 8, 2023, the National Health Commission said on Monday. The Commission also announced that Covid-19 management will be downgraded from Class A to B from next month.

Officials argue that Omicron variants were not as lethal as the Delta strain, which caused massive casualties all over the world.

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Out of isolation

The lifting of quarantine for international travellers is considered to be a major step for China as it reopens its borders and comes out of international isolation. Previously, passengers coming from abroad had to mandatorily stay in over two weeks of quarantine in government accommodations, which was gradually reduced to five days with three days’ of observation.

Covid-19 has been managed as a top category 'A' infectious disease since 2020, putting it at par with bubonic plague and cholera, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. Under Chinese laws, authorities must impose the toughest restrictions such as quarantine and isolation of the infected and their close contacts, and lockdowns to contain those diseases.

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At the border, the infected must be isolated and those who might be infected quarantined, depending on the incubation period. The National Health Commission also stopped announcing daily Covid cases from Sunday. The novel coronavirus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 before it turned into a pandemic.