Chinese New Year of the Rabbit was celebrated on 22 January 2023, but Chunyun, the 40-day period of travel around the festivities, continues. Chunyun is the world’s largest annual migration of people.
This year, it is anticipated that more than two billion will travel during the New Year celebrations, representing a year-on-year increase of 99.5 per cent, and 70.3 per cent of 2019 trip numbers.
For the country-wide celebrations, people traditionally return to their hometowns and families from all over the world. This year’s festivities, though, are expected to be emotionally charged due to the past three years of strict lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions implemented by the Chinese government. On 8 January, restrictions were lifted in the country, with international visitors able to enter China without a mandatory quarantine requirement.
Travellers to China will need to submit a negative PCR test by filling in the Health Declaration form. Anyone with a positive test result will not be able to board a flight to China.
Despite the positivity around the reopening of borders, travel insurance companies are advising travellers to be careful.
Jonathan Frankham, World Nomads General Manager Europe, said: “We urge travellers to exercise caution: the country is currently in the midst of a severe wave of Covid infections.
“Governments have changed travel warnings to restrict travel during this time because of concerns that new Covid-19 variants may now spread beyond China – and they are evolving day by day. If you plan to travel, it’s important that you are aware of the situation, your requirements for travel and the advice of your government.”
UK citizens considering travelling have been advised by the UK Foreign Office to buy comprehensive travel insurance.
“We would strongly advise UK citizens travelling to China to think about purchasing travel insurance that covers Covid-19, to account for the continued risk of testing positive for the disease while abroad,” said Frankham. “Different levels of coverage and benefit caps apply, depending on your policy, so read through it carefully and ensure it meets the requirements for your trip.”