BEIJING - After having battled COVID-19 and having faced a barrage of allegations, the authorities in China have announced that inbound travelers to the country no longer need a pre-departure antigen test for COVID-19.
The relaxation would come into effect from Aug. 30 as confirmed by China's foreign ministry as part of the country's effort to reopen to the world after it imposed border restrictions in 2020.
The government in China is suspending COVID-related restrictions over a period of a few months. Beijing has also gradually been expanding the list of countries Chinese nationals are allowed to travel to as well as increasing the number of flights to and from the country recently.
China also abandoned its zero-Covid policy in December last year and recently lifted a ban on group tours to multiple countries including the US, UK, Australia, South Korea and Japan, in fresh changes.
Group tours have resumed immediately and as per the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the relaxation applies to all travel agencies and online platforms across the country.
Travel experts say the move could see crowds of Chinese tourists return to destinations around the world as Covid-related restrictions are virtually over.
China isolated itself from the world in 2020 as part of a strict zero-Covid strategy, suspending visas and opting quarantine measures to curb the spread of the virus in the country.
"From now on, travel agencies across the country and online travel companies will resume operating outbound group tours" to more than 70 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism said in a statement.
Chinese tour groups had already received consent to visit other countries earlier this year under a trial program, including tourist hotspots Thailand, Italy and France.
China had the largest outbound tourism market in the world in 2019 as per consulting firm McKinsey; however, the country could not sustain the momentum in the wake of Covid-19.
Chinese authorities effectively ended the country's practice of mass testing, lockdowns and long quarantines in December last year; Beijing resumed issuing a range of visas to foreigners in March, but stats show inbound tourism has not restored to pre-pandemic levels.
Interestingly, Chinese tourists can now travel in groups to almost 140 countries across the globe but still a few dozen nations remain excluded, including Canada, Ukraine, as well as some countries in South America and Africa.
Pakistani rupee remains largely stable against the US dollar, and other currencies in the open market on Sunday.
On Sunday, the US dollar was being quoted at 283.4 for buying and 285.95 for selling.
Euro comes down to 307 for buying and 310 for selling. British Pound rate remains unchanged at 358.5 for buying, and 362 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED witnessed slight drop and new rate stands at 77.2 whereas the Saudi Riyal remained stable at 76.
Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
|UK Pound Sterling||GBP||358.5||362|
|Hong Kong Dollar||HKD||36.37||36.72|
|New Zealand Dollar||NZD||175.33||177.33|
Gold prices decreased in local markets in line with the trend in the international market.
On Sunday, the price of a single tola of 24-karat gold stands at Rs216,300, and 10 grams of 24k gold costs Rs185,450.
Single tola of 22 Karat Gold price costs Rs198,274, 21 karat rate per tola costs Rs189,263 and 18k gold rate is Rs162,225 for each tola.
In the global market, gold prices hovers around $2,004 per ounce, after drop of $23.35 on Sunday.
|Lahore||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Karachi||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Islamabad||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Peshawar||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Quetta||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Sialkot||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Attock||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Gujranwala||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Jehlum||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Multan||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Bahawalpur||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Gujrat||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Nawabshah||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Chakwal||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Hyderabad||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Nowshehra||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Sargodha||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Faisalabad||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|
|Mirpur||PKR 216,300||PKR 2,486|