China has eased some COVID-19 testing requirements for passengers from Canada, the United States and other countries, while shortening pre-departure quarantine for some inbound travelers.

The Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement that starting Saturday, travelers will no longer need a negative RT-PCR test seven days before their flight.

Travelers flying out of Canada are still required to take an initial test within 48 hours of boarding and a second test 24 hours before their flight. The tests must be taken at a medical center recognized by China.

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In addition, these travelers must undergo an antigen test, which can be performed by any Canadian-approved hospital, clinic or pharmacy, within 12 hours prior to boarding.

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However, China is waiving the need for antibody testing for travelers from Canada and the United States, according to consular notices.

Starting Friday, travelers from Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago will be subject to the same testing rules for Canadian departures.

The slight easing came in response to factors such as the “characteristics of coronavirus variants,” according to the Chinese embassies’ releases.

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Travel to and from China has plummeted during the COVID outbreaks as the country insists on its “dynamic COVID-zero” playbook, which has included restrictions on passport issuance and renewal, mandatory quarantines for most travelers on arrival and flight cancellations .

However, the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant has allowed for a slight relaxation of restrictions on international travellers. The capital Beijing has reduced the quarantine period at central facilities on arrival for travelers from 14 days to 10 days.

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The variant has led to several lockdowns in major Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, in a bid to fully contain the spread of the virus.

Embassies in the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Bangladesh said on Wednesday they had lifted some testing requirements and reduced the quarantine period for employees of Chinese companies to 10 days from 21 before departure.

According to embassy releases, Bangladesh has further reduced the pre-flight quarantine period for other travelers from seven days to five days, while Serbia has halved the pre-flight quarantine period for certain personnel to one week.

–With files from Reuters

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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