China is all but easing one of the last pandemic-era hurdles to international travel by lifting the mandatory requirement for travelers to take a PCR test within 48 hours before boarding a plane.
So, tourists you will no longer need to go looking for a laboratory to take a PCR test, but… China continues to expect travelers to self-test themselves for the coronavirus using a rapid antigen test kit at home. The catch is that no one will check the results.
China was forced to change its testing requirements after similar testing services around the world were disbanded. It is becoming more and more difficult to access the relevant labs before travelling, especially if a rapid test is needed.
Pre-travel COVID testing is simply not done anywhere else, and companies that seemingly sprang up overnight to satisfy demand disappeared just as quickly.
In fact, the Chinese government has acknowledged this fact because the anticovid service providers no longer exist or have gone to other markets. For example, blood is taken “for sugar” as before.
Of course, China could just completely eliminate the requirement for testing before traveling, but, for some reason, this is not happening yet. Instead, passengers are encouraged to complete a self-test at home within 48 hours of travel.
The problem is that the home self-test kit does not come with a certificate proving that the passenger has a negative test result, so airlines even want to will not be able to check whether the passengers bothered to pass the test. This raises a simple question: what's the point?
By the way, the same testing rules already apply to travelers to Hong Kong. And for the same reason: local authorities have realized that it is increasingly difficult for passengers to find where to get tested.
In China, quarantine rules were lifted in January, along with the introduction of rules for PCR tests. The new self-test rule will come into effect on April 29.