China to resume issuing passports

China stopped issuing visas to foreigners and passports to its own people at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

By

World News

December 28, 2022 - 4:23 PM

Passengers arrive at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong on Dec. 8, 2022. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

BEIJING (AP) — China says it will resume issuing passports for tourism in another big step away from anti-virus controls that isolated the country for almost three years, setting up a potential flood of Chinese going abroad for next month’s Lunar New Year holiday.

The announcement Tuesday adds to abrupt changes that are rolling back some of the world’s strictest anti-virus controls as President Xi Jinping’s government tries to reverse an economic slump. Rules that confined millions of people to their homes kept China’s infection rate low but fueled public frustration and crushed economic growth.

The latest decision could send free-spending Chinese tourists to revenue-starved destinations in Asia and Europe for Lunar New Year, which begins Jan. 22 and usually is the country’s busiest travel season. But it also presents a danger they might spread COVID-19 as infections surge in China.

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