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What Experts Say About China's Seismic Covid Quarantine Shift - BNN Bloomberg

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Date: 2022-06-28 20:55:37

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(Bloomberg) -- China cut in half the length of time inbound travelers must spend in quarantine, making it easier for citizens to return and foreign companies to tend to business in the world’s second-largest economy after two-and-a-half years of isolation.

Experts on topics from economics to health to business welcomed the move, though they said the reduction to 10 days of quarantine, from as long as three weeks previously, was just a first step toward reintegrating with the world. Health leaders in China said it wasn’t a major policy change, but a subtle adjustment as the virus itself continues to mutate. 

China’s Scientists

  • China’s virus situation has gradually stabilized in the past month, despite earlier outbreaks that hit the eastern coastal region, providing a window to optimize and adjust the Covid protocol. The new protocol is an optimization of the prevention and control work. It’s absolutely not loosening up, but a more scientific and targeted approach. -- Lei Zhenglong, official with the National Health Commission.
  • The adjustment caters to our study of the characteristic of the omicron variant, and will not increase the risk of transmission. -- Wang Liping, an official with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Global Health Experts

  • This is a step in the right direction. The question is whether this step is far enough. It’s at least better than nothing. The virus situation has changed greatly. Now it’s entirely different from how the situation was in Wuhan. Also most people have been vaccinated. Since things are different, Covid control should not be kept the same as how it was. -- Jin Dong-yan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong.
  • It is a significant step for China in the right direction. But the change is only one part of the entire strategy. If the rest of the requirements on visas and Covid tests, as well as all complicated domestic restrictions, aren’t adjusted accordingly, uncertainties and risks will persist for travels into China, and the effectiveness of the current move will be squeezed. China is still way far from opening up. -- Huang Yanzhong, a senior fellow for global health at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.

Foreign Business Leaders

  • The European Chamber recognizes that China cannot open its borders completely due to relatively low vaccination rates, particularly among those aged 60 and above. This, in conjunction with a slow introduction of mRNA vaccines, means that China may have to maintain a restricted immigration policy beyond the summer of 2023. -- Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.
  • While the business community will benefit from a few days reprieve following the reduced quarantine requirements, we are still far behind the rest of the world here in China in terms of freedom to travel, 2.5 years into the pandemic. Business travel for non-residents of China is still extremely onerous, and the uncertainty surrounding the conditions for those expats that arrive back in China and test positive carries too high a risk profile for most executives and their families to justify the attempt. -- Noah Fraser, managing director and chief representative of the Canada China Business Council in China.
  • The State Council’s decision is a positive step to help restart cross-border business travel, make it easier for companies to bring staff to China, and foster better business ties. It potentially makes it easier for Chinese companies and their executives to visit the US. For this measure to be truly effective, however, we need more international flights and greater capacity on those flights, which are currently forced to limit the number of passengers on each plane arriving in Shanghai. We also need local governments to implement the State Council’s decision with alacrity. -- Sean Stein, AmCham Shanghai chairman.
  • Travel restrictions have severely hampered business and investment of German companies in China during the last two and a half years. We therefore welcome today’s announcement on reducing quarantine to 7+3 days for all inbound travelers as a positive sign. However, we continue to strongly advocate for a quick and comprehensive implementation and aligned quarantine rules in all regions throughout China. -- Jens Hildebrandt, Executive Director of the German Chamber of Commerce in China.

Investors and Economists

  • I see this as the beginning of policy tweaks under the name of dynamic Covid-zero to remove excessive restrictions that have depressed economic activity, especially in the service sector. This seems to be a cautious first step, compared with other countries, and is likely to be followed by more relaxations if it does not cause out-of-control rebound in Covid cases. -- Shuang Ding, chief economist, Greater China & North Asia, Standard Chartered Bank.
  • This improves sentiment and is yet another positive for Chinese equities. Domestic travel for business and leisure could pick up and could give a much needed boost to the Chinese airline stocks. -- Manish Bhargava, chief executive officer at Straits Investment Holdings Pte.
  • The move demonstrates that China’s policy toward managing the virus is not static, it is indeed a dynamic decision, and affirms that it is all based on science, with an eventual opening. This is a boost for confidence, giving the rebound more legs. -- Jiang Liangqing, managing director at Zhuhai Greenbamboo Private Fund Management.

Market Strategists

  • Perhaps the authorities will not be as stringent with Covid controls as has been expected, and together with reports that the PBoC is pledging to keep monetary policy supportive, this suggests a potentially more optimistic outlook for the economy. This is good news generally for commodity exporters such as Australia and all of China’s trading partners. -- Jane Foley, strategist at Rabobank.
  • Positive to the market as it is the first step for China to relax the requirements for quarantine. Markets react on the upside as it is likely to have more mobility relaxation between China and HK in the future, thus benefiting business outlook of enterprises. -- Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment Corp.
  • While it’s too early to say it’s an end to Covid Zero, the tweaks to China’s strategy show that policymakers are moving towards reopening and supporting growth. Another sign to watch for would be if President Xi does end up visiting Hong Kong for the handover 25th anniversary. -- Marvin Chen, strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Travel Industry

  • The reduction in the quarantine period for international travelers to China is a step forward. As long as there is still a quarantine, it will be a disincentive for people considering travel to China, especially when many parts of Asia are already allowing quarantine free travel. -- Albert Tjoeng, International Air Transport Association.
  • It is very positive news for corporate travel and travel in general, it makes it more feasible for corporate travelers to go overseas and come back. In practical terms, we are seeing a slight loosening, but it is definitely in the right direction. -- Jonathan Kao, managing director for Greater China, corporate travel management firm BCD Travel.

 

  • I think it is a signal that things are improving in China. As long as there is quarantine no matter how short, it is going to be a deterrent. I hope the Chinese government will find it conducive to remove quarantine. -- Subhas Menon, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Original Source: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/what-experts-say-about-china-s-seismic-covid-quarantine-shift-1.1785152