News of China reopening its borders to the rest of the world has caused a surge in overseas travel queries from Chinese citizens, with Singapore emerging as one of the top 10 overseas destinations.
This is according to the Trip.com Group, which monitored the searches in China for travel abroad, CNBC reported.
The travel booking company said searches for travel abroad surged to a three-year high within half an hour of China’s announced policy change.
This was in anticipation of changes to outbound flight arrangements given that inbound flight arrangements have been updated.
Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the United Kingdom made the list of top 10 destinations outside mainland China with the fastest-growing search volume, the company revealed.
Macau and Hong Kong also made the list.
Countries on the European continent failed to register as much interest.
China’s National Health Commission announced on Dec. 26 that starting Jan. 8, 2023, inbound travellers need not quarantine upon arrival on the mainland, ending a policy that lasted for nearly three years.
Authorities also said they would allow Chinese citizens to resume travel, but the timeline remains vague.
Beijing prevented Chinese citizens from getting passports or leaving the country during the pandemic.
They were only mainly allowed to go abroad for business.
Singapore authorities not implementing restrictions
These relaxations in China appear to have led to a significant wave of Covid infections, albeit amongst uncertain data that are not reflected in official figures.
The relaxation has also caused some concern about the potential impact of Chinese travellers coming to Singapore.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, giving remarks while visiting a mobile vaccination centre in Hong Kah North Community Club on Dec. 12, previously expressed his concerns about the possibility of new variants arising from a potential surge in cases in China.
“It is a big unknown in terms of what is happening in China. They are taking swift decisive steps to open their economy and society. This is bound to drive up the infections which we are not so worried about per se, because our resilience is high. We have gone already through three waves this year.
But the question is, with 1.3 billion people mostly uninfected in China, and with the disease starting to spread, we are bound to get new variants, and what worries us more is what kind of mutations will come out of it. That is what we are watching.”
However, experts in Singapore’s infectious diseases community have said there is no need for additional restrictions on travellers entering from China.
They cited reasons such as Singapore’s high vaccination rate, as well as the fact that China’s infections rates are not higher than comparable countries.
Singapore’s current requirements for travel here include a minimum vaccine dosage at least 14 days before entering Singapore, or a negative Covid-19 test result.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) also did not indicate whether it would implement additional restrictions on travellers entering Singapore from China.
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