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FAQs for Foreigners on Prevention and Control of COVID-19

Writer:   |  Editor: Vincent Lin  |  From: Foreign Affairs Office of Shenzhen Municipal People's Government  |  Updated: 2020-03-16

Should foreigners entering China be quarantined? Will international travels be restrained amid the global spread of COVID-19? In a press conference held on March 1, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council gave authoritative answers to questions on how to prevent and control imported COVID-19 cases.

1. Should foreigners entering China be quarantined?

Spokesperson: Local authorities have adopted epidemic prevention and control measures such as taking travelers’ body temperature and implementing home or collective quarantine on travelers coming from epidemic outbreak countries and regions in accordance with local situations and needs. Such measures are compliant with Chinese laws and regulations, essential to epidemic prevention and control, and effective for preventing cross-border spread of COVID-19. Therefore, they are beneficial to China and other countries alike.

2. Are the measures adopted for foreigners the same as those for Chinese nationals?

Spokesperson: The measures adopted for foreigners and Chinese nationals are identical. Local authorities will take full consideration of the reasonable concerns of foreign travelers and respect their religions and customs. After entering China, the communities the foreigners live in will provide necessary support and assistance to help them solve difficulties in their daily life.

3. How should travelers entering and exiting China declare health status?

Spokesperson: All travelers entering and exiting China shall declare their health status. Customs staff at border checkpoints shall review the declared information to closely verify whether a traveler shows symptoms of COVID-19, has been to epidemic outbreak countries or regions over the past 14 days, or has been in contact with confirmed or suspected cases. The health declaration card is translated into more than 10 languages and a mini-program has been developed so that travelers can declare on their mobile phones before arriving at checkpoints. They can pass the checkpoints by scanning the QR code generated on their phones.

4. How can imported cases be prevented at border checkpoints?

Spokesperson: A “three checks, three investigations and one transfer” policy will be applied to all travelers entering and exiting China. “Three checks” refer to checking declared health information and body temperature of all travelers, and thoroughly carrying out medical inspections. “Three investigations” include epidemiological, medical and lab testing investigations, which will be applied to travelers showing COVID-19 symptoms, coming from epidemic outbreak countries or regions, or having been in contact with suspected or confirmed cases. “One transfer” refers to transferring confirmed and suspected cases identified in the “three investigations”, travelers with COVID-19 symptoms, and those in close contact with confirmed or suspected cases for quarantine and medical observation.

5. What measures will be adopted for international flights?

Spokesperson: Measures will be taken to improve ventilation and disinfection in aircraft and airports, in addition to body temperature checks for travelers arriving at and departing from airports. Meanwhile, personal protection and health management of frontline staff, including crew members and security staffers, will be intensified. Epidemic prevention and control instructions for airlines and airports will be released in a timely manner. As the epidemic is spreading in certain countries and regions, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has formulated graded prevention and control measures for different countries and regions. Risks of flight operations are assessed and differentiated management approaches are adopted, with various indices taken into account such as epidemic situations and flight operation features in different countries and regions, in order to achieve targeted epidemic prevention and control and implement accurate strategies.

6. Will international travel be restrained as COVID-19 is spreading in multiple countries?

Spokesperson: We will closely follow the epidemic outbreak overseas and strengthen communication, coordination and negotiation with relevant countries as the situation evolves to reduce unnecessary international travels. We hope to work with other countries in people-to-people exchanges, and minimize the epidemic’s impacts on the interactions between Chinese and foreign citizens as well as exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

7. What should foreigners in China do if their visas expire during the epidemic prevention and control period?

Spokesperson: For foreigners in China, if the permitted duration of stay expires   during the epidemic prevention and control period, it will be automatically extended for two months. During the two months, foreigners do not need to apply for an extension and are allowed to stay in China legally or leave the country normally.

8. How can foreigners apply for a visa if they are traveling to China to fight the epidemic?

Spokesperson: Foreigners who visit China for exchanges and cooperation in the fight against the epidemic, or for important businesses and trade activities and scientific research, but fail to acquire a visa before traveling to China due to urgent matters, can apply for a port visa at the port of entry