Published: 11th November 2022
Breaking: China eases COVID-19 measures for flights. What does it mean for Indian students?
From RT-PCR rules to quarantine measures, here is all that has changed in China's policy on inbound travellers. Indian students are still hopeful that direct flights will resume soon
In some positive news for Indian students looking to return to China to complete their higher education, the Chinese government has made some tweaks in its COVID-19 protocols for inbound flights. In a tweet, Counsellor, Department of Asian Affairs of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ji Rong, details some of the measures being adjusted for the in-bound passengers.
BREAKING: #China adjusts #COVID19 measures for inbound travelers— Ji Rong嵇蓉 (@JiRongMFA) November 11, 2022
– Circuit breaker measures for inbound flights cancelled
– Pre-departure COVID test requirement cut from twice within 48 hours to once
– Shorten quarantine requirements for intl arrivals from 7+3 to 5+3 pic.twitter.com/n4EtMAQEA8
Circuit breaker measures, which suspended flights for a certain duration if passengers onboard were found COVID-positive, have now been set aside. This, students say, will reduce the probability of flights being cancelled, easing their route back to China.
Additionally, the fixed quarantine period before and after landing in China has been reduced from 7+3 days to 5+3 days. "Even though it is just two days, it comes as a huge relief because quarantine hotels are expensive," says Rachita Kurmi, an Indian medical student at Shandong University in China.
The Chinese government has also adjusted the rules around the mandatory COVID-19 RT-PCR test. Earlier, people flying into China were required to take two RT-PCR tests in 48 hours. That condition has now been removed, and students only need to get tested once in 48 hours before they board the flight. "This move also saves students some money since rt-PCR tests range from around 4000 INR (Bangkok, India) to 10,000 INR (South Korea, Japan)," Kurmi adds.
Approximately 23,000 Indian students are enrolled in universities in China and a good majority of these students are pursuing medicine. With China refusing to provide visas at the start of this year for the students to return, they have been campaigning for action from the Ministry of External Affairs so they can complete their education. Now, more than 1,300 visas have been issued to Indian students from Chinese medical universities, Liu Jinsong, the Director General of the Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry informed Indian Ambassador to China Pradeep Kumar Rawat. However, direct flights still have not resumed for Indian students to return to China and expensive connecting flights are still burning a hole in the students' pockets. After two years of stringent lockdowns, China finally opened up to bringing Indian students back into the country in batches. And since students are only returning in batches, universities in China are conducting classes online for this semester, students informed.
The Indian Embassy in China has also asked Indian students in China and those who returned to China to register for the facilitation of the students' consular needs. The Embassy said it encourages all Indian students to register so that the Embassy/Consulate can reach out to them for any facilitation at the earliest.
Indian students have also been informed that any student who joins the clinical medicine programme in China after November 2021 and fails to obtain a license to practice as a medical doctor in China, will be rendered ineligible for the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination.