China Reopening Borders Soon? When will International Travel Return?

(Updated: March 4th, 2022)

"China has no choice but to suspend the entry of foreigners due to the current epidemic, but China will stay in close touch with all sides and properly handle personnel exchanges with the rest of the world. On the premise of ensuring epidemic control, China will gradually and orderly resume personnel exchanges with other countries." This is the latest official statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & National Immigration Administration of China.

Now the epidemic is under control and the vaccination is progressing steadily around the world. Will cross-border travel resume? The covid-19 epidemic has blocked the whole world for almost two years, and people have been unable to go abroad for a long time. At present, they have accumulated great willingness to travel, which would probably lead to an explosion of revenge travel after the epidemic.
Some developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Denmark, have relaxed their entry policies and resumed cross-border travel in early 2022 as vaccination rates around the world are rising. Some developing countries with high vaccination rates, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, are also opening up. And China, although it has achieved more than 80% full vaccination rate as planned, and has basically achieved herd immunity, there is no news of re-opening for the time being. It is expected that by the end of 2022, the normal exchange activities such as inbound tourism, business and family visits will be resumed.
This is, of course, just a prediction. The resumption of international travel would actually be affected by many factors, such as epidemic control and vaccine implementation. The following is an analysis of the various influencing factors for your reference.



A Country-by-Country Guide to Epidemic Control (Updated: March 2022)

As of March 4th 2022, some key features and data of covid-19 control are:
1. The cumulative number of confirmed cases of covid-19 worldwide is 441 million.
2. Europe had the world's largest cumulative number of confirmed cases for 20 weeks; North America led in diagnosis rates for 14 consecutive weeks; the slowdown is evident in the Americas, especially in the United States. Asia had the world's highest cure rate for 10 weeks; Africa got the highest death rate for 5 weeks.
3. The number of countries and regions with more than 1 million confirmed cases has increased to 56, and 122 countries have more than 100,000 cases.
4. Countries with the largest increases in confirmed cases globally include Germany, South Korea, Vietnam, Russia, USA, and Japan.
Newly Reported Cases per Week by Continent
Newly Reported Cases per Week by Continent
USA: The recent slowdown of the epidemic in the US is obvious. The number of new daily confirmed cases dropped to about 100,000, the lowest average since December last year. Over the past two weeks, the daily number of new confirmed cases has dropped by at least 40 percent in all regions of the country.

UK: It recorded 41,130 new cases in a single day, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 19,074,696. The trend of the epidemic remains unclear.

France: Being one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, France has more than 22,900,531 confirmed cases in total, and has recorded 286 new deaths in the past 24 hours. There are 2,842 hospitalized patients with severe diseases. The overall situation has slowed slightly, and data shows the spread of the virus is weakening, so the French Health Ministry has announced the criteria for lifting restrictions.

Germany: It saw 125,902 new cases in a single day, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 15,375,508. 306 deaths were reported in a single day, bringing the total number of deaths to 124,265.

Japan: It has 4619,636 cases been confirmed and is experiencing a new wave of COVID-19. There were 319 new deaths, a record number of deaths in history.

Brazil: Being the most seriously affected country in South America, Brazil has a total number of confirmed cases of 28,906,214, ranking third in the world after the US and India. The cumulative death toll is 650,000, the second highest in the world.
China: The number of cases in mainland China has been zero for several weeks. There are only a small number of imported cases.



Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker: How many people have been vaccinated in the world? (Updated: March 2022)

As of March 1st 2022, more than 10.7 billion doses of covid-19 vaccine have been administered globally. The fully vaccinated people total about 4.37 billion and account for about 56.1% of the world's population. Assuming that everyone gets the first dose, 10.7 billion doses would cover about 100% of the world's population, but the actual situation is much more complicated and unbalanced among different regions. The G7 countries, led by USA, Canada and UK, vaccinate 45% of the world's vaccines.

Here are statistics from "Our World in Data" (March 1st, 2022):
Location Doses Given Fully Vaccinated % of Poulation Fully Vaccinated
China 3.12 billion 1.23 billion 87.4 %
India 1.77 billion 789 million 57.2 %
USA 553 million 215 million 65.2 %
Brazil 392 million 155 million 72.8 %
Indonesia 344 million 144 million 52.6 %
Japan 226 million 100 million 79.6 %
Pakistan 209 million 96.2 million 43.6 %
Vietnam 193 million 76.8 million 78.9 %
Bangladesh 185 million 78 million 47.4 %
Mexico 182 million 78.9 million 61.2 %
Germany 170 million 62.7 million 75.3 %
Russia 161 million 71.6 million 49.7 %
Turkey 146 million 52.8 million 62.6 %
Philippines 142 million 63.1 million 57.6 %
Iran 141 million 55.4 million 66.0 %
France 141 million 52.2 million 77.5 %
UK 140 million 49 million 72.8 %
Italy 134 million 47.5 million 79.7 %
Thailand 123 million 49.6 million 71.1 %
South Korea 119 million 44.4 million 85.7 %
Spain 104 million 39 million 82.3 %
Argentina 93.5 million 36.1 million 79.5 %
Canada 80.9 million 30.9 million 81.3 %
Colombia 76.7 million 33.4 million 65.6 %
Egypt 70.7 million 30 million 29.3 %
Malaysia 67.1 million 25.7 million 79.6 %
Peru 61.1 million 23.9 million 72.6 %
Saudi Arabia 59.7 million 24 million 68.8 %
Australia 53.9 million 20.5 million 79.7 %
Morocco 53.7 million 23.3 million 63.1 %
Poland 53.3 million 22.2 million 58.5 %
Chile 48.2 million 17.2 million 89.8 %
Myanmar 44.5 million 20.9 million 38.4 %
Uzbekistan 42.1 million 13.2 million 38.4 %
Nepal 40.1 million 17.4 million 59.8 %
Sri Lanka 38.1 million 14.2 million 64.6 %
Venezuela 37.9 million 14.3 million 50.2 %
Cambodia 35.1 million 13.8 million 82.8 %
Cuba 35 million 9.88 million 87.2 %
Netherlands 33.9 million 12.4 million 70.8 %
Ecuador 31.8 million 13.5 million 76.7 %
Ukraine 31.7 million 15.2 million 34.5 %
South Africa 31.4 million 17.2 million 29 %
Nigeria 26.5 million 8.09 million 3.9 %
Belgium 24.9 million 9.06 million 78.4 %
UAE 24.1 million 9.48 million 95.8 %
Mozambique 22.8 million 10.5 million 33.7 %
Portugal 22.8 million 9.38 million 91.1 %
Kazakhstan 20.9 million 8.98 million 47.9 %
Ethiopia 20.9 million 3.67 million 3.2 %
Sweden 20.4 million 7.58 million 73.2 %
Greece 19.9 million 7.49 million 69.9 %
Israel 18 million 6.12 million 66.4 %
Covid-19 Vaccine

1. Number and Proportion of People Fully Vaccinated (2 doses)

The countries with the largest number of fully vaccinated people are: China, India, USA, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mexico, Germany, Russia, and Turkey. As of March 1st 2022, countries with more than 80% of the population having full vaccination include UAE (95.8 %), Portugal (91.1%), Chile (89.8%), China (87.4%), Cuba (87.2%), Singapore (86.1%), South Korea (85.7%), Cambodia (82.8%), Spain (82.3%), Canada (81.3%), and Denmark (81.3%).

2. China is the country with the most vaccinated people in the world.

China currently vaccinates far more people than any other countries. As of March 1st 2022, more than 3.12 billion doses has been given, and 1.23 billion people have been fully vaccined.

3. USA Vaccine Progress

As of March 1st 2022, 254 million people or 76% of the US population have received at least one dose. The fully vaccination rate is about 65%.

4. UAE is the country with the highest percentage of people vaccinated.

The top 10 countries with the highest vaccination coverage are dominated by small countries with a population within 1 million. Among them, UAE, Portugal, Chile, China, Cuba, Singapore, South Korea have more than 85% of their people fully vaccinated. UAE has the highest vaccination rate in the world, with more than 95% of the population having completed the second dose, far higher than any other countrie, having already achieved herd immunization.

5. The global distribution of covid-19 vaccines is extremely uneven.

Of the 10 countries with the largest number of confirmed cases globally, only the UK and the US have vaccination rates of more than 70% on their first dose. Vaccination rates vary by as much as 34 times in the top 10 countries with the most confirmed cases. The vaccination rate in high-income countries are about four times higher than that in middle-income countries.
At the current speed for vaccination, USA is expected to reach the threshold for herd immunity in 2022; however, it would take at least 6 years for India to achieve herd immunity. The global imbalance in covid-19 vaccination could lead to two different herd immunity pathways: one, like USA, relies on increasing vaccination rates; another, like India, realizes herd immunity because of high infection rates. For less developed countries with poor public health conditions, the latter means higher mortality.



Latest Entry Policies of Different Countries (Updated: March 2022)

Entry PoliciesGiven the different situation of the epidemic in different areas around the world, all countries are constantly adjusting their entry policies. As the epidemic control improves, some countries relax their entry policies, while some turn away or impose more restrictions on people from countries and regions at high risk of the disease. The following is a summary of some of the latest policies.
1. Most countries allow entry of foreigners holding diplomatic visa, official visa, or the long-term residence permit.
2. Many countries have tightened their visa policies to grant entry only to those with special needs.
3. In addition to regular entry documents, some countries require people traveling across borders to be tested for COVID-19 or be vaccinated in advance. Starting in 2022, some countries have relaxed their entry policies, exempting fully vaccinated visitors from quarantine.
In view of the dynamic adjustment of policies in many countries in response to the epidemic, the following information is for reference only. For details, please refer to the latest policies of the immigration authority of your destination.
Destinations Entry Requirements
USA Fully vaccinated with the last dose given at least 14 days before departure; Negative result of COVID-19 test within 24 hours before departure.
Canada Travelers who are fully vaccinated or under the age of 5 can enter without COVID-19 test and quarantine, while kids aged between 5 and 12 who are not vaccinated need to have negative tests of COVID-19 within 72 hours before boarding, at the airport, and on the 8th day after arrival.
UK Travelers who are fully vaccinated or under the age of 17 can enter without COVID-19 test and quarantine, while other travelers still need nucleic acid PCR test within 2 days before entry, and may need a Day-2 test after entry. All travelers need to complete a Passenger Location Form (PLF).
Australia Fully vaccinated travelers with the last dose given 14 days before departure and a negative COVID test with 72 hours before boarding can enter without additional COVID tests and quarantine upon arrival.
New Zealand Fully vaccinated with the last dose given at least 14 days before departure; Negative result of COVID-19 test within 72 hours before departure; self-isolation with two COVID tests on the 1st and 6th days after arrival.
France A negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours or TAG test within 48 hours before departure; Fully vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Italy Fully vaccinated with the last dose given at least 14 days before departure; Negative result of COVID-19 test within 72 hours before departure and Antigen Rapid Test (ART) within 48 hours before departure.
Egypt A negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure; COVID-19 vaccination with two shots at least 14 days before arrival.
South Africa Negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure. Quarantine is required for travelers without a negative COVID test or with symptoms of COVID-19.
Brazil Negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before boarding.
Thailand Fully vaccinated traveler with the last dose given at least 14 days before the trip can apply for the QR Code of TEST & GO Thailand Pass and enter without quarantine. Travelers with negative COVID test result within 72 hours before departure can also enter Thailand. COVID-19 tests are required on arrival and on the 5th day after arrival. For travelers under the age of 18, the vaccination is not must, but they need to be accompanied by fully vaccinated parents.
Vietnam Travelers aged above 12 need to be fully vaccinated with the last dose given within 6 months before entry. Negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours or ART test within 24 hours before boarding is also required.
China Health Declaration Form, Health Declaration Certificate (HDC), negative proof of covid-19 nucleic acid and serology IgM antibody tests within 48 hours before departure, 14+7+7 days quarantine after entry.
Cambodia Proof of a negative PCR test result within 72 hours before departure and a COVID-19 test on arrival are required. Full COVID-19 vaccination is required. 14-day quarantine is required for unvaccinated travelers.
Singapore Fully vaccinated with the last dose given at least 14 days before departure; Negative COVID test completed within 48 hours before arrival for travelers from Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) countries and low-infection countries. Self-administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART) is required within 24 hours after entry.
Philippines Fully vaccinated with the last dose given at least 14 days before departure; Negative result of COVID-19 test within 48 hours before departure; self-isolation for 7 days after arrival. Travelers who are not fully vaccinated need a mandatory isolation until having the negative result of COVID-19 test on day 5, and they need a self-isolation till the 14th day after arrival. Children under the age of 12 need to be accompanied by fully vaccinated parents.
Indi Negative RT-PCR report within 72 hours prior to arrival; Fully vaccinated certificate. Travelers partially or not vaccinated need PCR test at the airport, quarantine for 7 days, retest on the 8th day, and self-monitor their health for the next 7 days.
Nepal Negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours before arrival; Full vaccination at least 14 days before arrival.



When will international travel return? 

How to strike a balance between the prevention and control of covid-19 and the resumption of entry and exit of passengers is an issue that all countries in the world have to face. Whether the countries dare to open their doors and resume cross-border travel depends largely on how well the epidemic is controlled, in other words, how well the vaccine is administered.
From the perspective of vaccine coverage, the ordering rate of vaccines in developed countries is high, while the coverage in low-income countries is limited. According to the data from Duke Global Health Center, as of February 2021, more than 10 billion doses of vaccines have been ordered globally. Among them, the orders of high-income countries and regions such as USA and the European Union have exceeded 2 billion doses each. The orders of Canada, USA, UK and New Zealand have covered 100% of their population. However, low-income countries are constrained by problems such as research and development capacity and lack of funds, and are in a weak position in vaccine distribution.
♦ Prediction:
1. UAE is most likely the first country in the world to receive herd immunity through vaccines. UAE has the highest vaccination rate in the world, with more than 95.8% of its population fully vaccinated. It is expected to open doors to visitors from all over the world soon. UAE's wealth and small population are the main reasons for its high vaccination rate.
2. The developed countries are expected to open up cross-border tourism by the first half of 2022. USA, UK, UAE, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, as well as some developed countries in Europe, such as Germany, France, and Denmark, are all in the fast process of vaccination at present. It is estimated that more than 80% of their population will be vaccinated and the herd immunity will be achieved by early 2022. Travel among these countries will resume in 2022.

Since November 8th 2021, the United States had allowed foreign travelers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter the country on international flights or through land and water ports. The White House released the types of Covid-19 vaccines eligible for entry and other details by November 2021.
3. The emerging developing countries, like China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Egypt, are expected to complete universal vaccination by the first half of 2022 and open doors by late 2022.
4. In Africa and other least developed regions, the vaccination may not be completed until the second half of 2022.

♦ To sum up, the global herd immunity would probably take 1 to 2 years to achieve. The cross-border flows between developed countries had began by early 2022. The global travel will take time, with a full recovery expected around the end of 2022.



When will China reopen its borders to foreign tourists?

Tourists Wearing Masks on the Bund, Shanghai
Tourists Wearing Masks on the Bund, Shanghai
♦ Who can enter China now? Latest Entry Policy since Sep. 28th 2020
Most foreigners cannot enter now except the following three groups of people:
1. Foreigners holding Chinese diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visas;
2. Foreigners holding Chinese visas issued on or after March 28th 2020;
3. Foreigners holding Chinese residence permits for work, private affairs, or reunion.
Read more:
♦ Reopening Date Prediction: Late 2022
The time of resuming normal entry of foreigners to China depends on the situation of epidemic control in foreign countries and China's own vaccination process. China is the safest country now in terms of covid-19 prevention, currently without reports of community infection but only a small amount of imported cases, which have been well tracked and controlled.
The overall situation is stable, and now the whole country is on a universal vaccination campaign. By March 2022, a total of 3.12 billion doses had been vaccinated, and the proportion of the fully vaccinated population reached 87.4%, but the follow-up vaccine production and booster shots remain urgent. The vaccine is safe and effective, and has been extended from the healthy adults aged from 18 to 59 to children aged from 3 to 17 and seniors aged 60 or above who are in good physical condition.
China's production capacity for covid-19 vaccine could reach more than 1 billion doses in 2022. So far, China has achieved more than 80% vaccination coverage as planned, but there is no word on when ordinary people will be allowed to not wear masks in public. Some experts predict that China may reopen to foreign tourists by the second half of 2022.



Conditions for Fully Opening-up of Cross-border Travel: Covid Vaccine Passport?

As a global vaccination campaign gets under way, the concept of a "covid vaccine passport" is gaining support from a growing number of countries as they try to overcome the effects of blockades and travel bans. However, there is a great controversy on the mutual recognition of vaccines among countries and the possible issue of discrimination. Can the vaccine passport really be a breakthrough in personnel exchange and economic recovery in the future?

UK Launched Vaccine Passport Trial

By the end of March 2021, the lockdown on parts of the UK had begun to be lifted. The British government has announced it would further relax the ban and pilot a vaccine passport policy across England to ensure the safe return of major sporting events and other large-scale indoor activities. The UK's National Health Service (NHS) is developing a system that will allow people to present a "vaccine passport" via a mobile app, including information about vaccination, results of covid-19 tests, and natural immunity, etc.

Many EU Countries Itch to Try Vaccine Passport

In fact, UK is not the only country interested in the vaccine passport. The European Union plans to introduce a regionally common vaccination certificate. Countries that rely heavily on tourism, such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, have pushed for the introduction of the certificate to promote free movement within Europe. Greece has even made a bold plan to open its door to overseas tourists in mid-May.

USA: Pros and Cons on Vaccine Passport

The White House said the USA would also introduce the vaccine passport, but unlike other countries around the world, the US government will not be the main driver but the policy maker for the vaccine passport, setting guidelines to allow private companies and groups to take the lead. Theatres and educational institutions are expected to be among the first to use vaccine passports. New York pioneered the nation's first vaccine pass program in late March, and officials in Hawaii are considering doing the same, but some Republican governors have resisted the vaccine passport, saying it is government overreach and will invade people's privacy.

Asia: Thailand is the First Proponent.

Since April 2021, Thailand has allowed vaccinated tourists to enter 6 tourist destinations, including Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai, reducing the quarantine period to 7 days. Thai Prime Minister and Defense Minister said on the evening of October 11th that Thailand would allow tourists to enter the country without quarantine measures from November 1st 2021. Tourists from low-risk countries need to complete the full dose of vaccines, undergo RT-PCR tests in the country of origin and at the airport in Thailand, and then can travel to other parts of Thailand as normal. At least 10 countries, including the UK, USA, Germany, China and Singapore, will be added to the list of low-risk countries. In addition, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, and Israel are also considering the implementation of vaccine passport.

China: International Travel Health Certificate

How would China reopen its borders without losing its grip on covid-19? China’s strict containment measures have been successful in the past year, but how can it deal with the coming situation when the rest of the world resumes cross-border travel? Unlike the vaccine passport, China had launched its own version of “International Travel Health Certificate” in March, a comprehensive certificate including the holder’s vaccination status, covid-19 nucleic acid test result, and serology IgM antibody test result. It contains an encrypted QR code that can be verified by relevant authorities of other countries, which possibly allows it to be the pass for future cross-border travel.
Read more:
Chinese Version of “International Travel Health Certificate” Officially Launched on March 7th ,2021
Covid Vaccine Passport
Covid Vaccine Passport
China: International Travel Health Certificate
China: International Travel Health Certificate
♦ Both the vaccine passport that many countries are trying to promote and the health certificate of China are based on the premise of the smooth progress of the vaccination around the world, and the key point is the international mutual recognition of the covid-19 test results and the effectiveness of different vaccines. Only in this way can the reopening of the world gradually be achieved.



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Popular Travel Destinations in 2022

Where can you travel? We recommend big cities rather than remote areas, for their developed facilities and effective epidemic control measures. Here are top 10 low-risk destinations for your reference: Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Xi'an, Huangshan, Zhangjiajie, Guizhou, Luoyang, and Xiamen.
- Last modified on Mar. 04, 2022 -