Covid-19 situation in mainland China

China has reported the highest number of Covid-19 infections in April - May since the beginning of the pandemic, including the initial outbreak in Wuhan in the spring 2020. The majority of infections have been reported in Shanghai that had been in lockdown since April. Shanghai Government announced the ending of the Shanghai lockdown on 1.6. and the return to mostly normal conditions. The mass testing and district specific restrictions will continue until further notice in Beijing. There are no signs of relaxing the very strict entry regulations into China. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has updated the travel advice to mainland China to advice against any non-essential travel to China on May 24. Travelling to China continues to be very difficult and from 19 February 2021, travelling to China on a transit flight from Finland is no longer possible. Anyone entering China is subject to strict quarantine measures and the duration of quarantine and health monitoring periods varies between different provinces.

Situation in Shanghai

After two months of citywide lockdown, the authorities have announced to ease the restrictions in Shanghai starting from 1.6. The public transportation is expected to return to normal in early June. Access to public places e.g. shops, shopping malls and public transportation will be permitted with a negative PCR result taken within 72h. Several free testing points have been built on the streets. Entry to the airports requires a negative PCR test taken within 48h.

During April - May, Shanghai’s entire population of 25 million has been tested several times per week with PCR-tests, and all those who test positive are taken to a designated hospital or to large quarantine centers, which can hold up to 15 000 beds. Conditions in the quarantine centers are rudimentary, with no heating or proper washing facilities necessarily available. The local authorities have stated that a Covid-positive child can be accompanied by an adult to a hospital or quarantine center.

The Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai will open their customer service accordance with normal business hours starting from 1.6.

In case of emergency, contact the Foreign Ministry’s emergency service (+368 9 160 55 555), including cases where there is a risk for a child to be separated from their parents and transferred to a designated Covid Hospital.

Entry regulations and travel within the country

From 1 April 2022, China requires all vaccinated travelers to obtain two negative Covid test results. In addition, the negative test results have to be confirmed by the Chinese Embassy. Upon arrival to China, travelers are subject to undergo at least 14 days of centralized quarantine. Depending on the regulations of the province, a home quarantine as well as health monitoring period may follow. The regulations are prone to rapid and sudden changes.

Traveling within the country can be controlled by requiring a negative Covid-test, quarantine, or by other restrictions and regulations. Some provinces in China might restrict unvaccinated people from traveling or from entry into public areas such as shopping malls or hospitals. China’s vaccination plan now includes foreigners living in China and local vaccines are largely accessible around the country.

The Chinese authorities have informed that a Covid-19 positive person will be transferred to a designated hospital or quarantine center for treatment, regardless of the age of the person. This also applies to asymptomatic cases. Separating a Covid positive person from their healthy family members has been a key measure, which might be applied even in the case of children and infants. The Finnish Embassy and Consulate General have currently limited capacity to influence situations where the Chinese health authorities are the decision-maker.

The Chinese Visa Application Service Center in Helsinki is closed until further notice.

Starting from 15 March, China has eased visa policy for the holders of a Chinese vaccination and/or vaccination certificate and a PU letter for these visa applicants is no longer required. In addition, visa facilitation for vaccinated family members has started. However, it is not possible to obtain a Chinese vaccination in Finland and Chinese vaccinations have not been approved by the EMA.

China requires unvaccinated travelers to obtain a negative coronavirus test result as well as a negative anti-body test result at their country of origin no later than two days before boarding the flight. In addition, the negative test results must be confirmed by the Chinese Embassy. Vaccinated travelers are required, in case the tests are done in a same laboratory, to have two PCR-test taken 48h and 24h before the flight. In case of a positive anti-body test result, the traveler is considered as an asymptomatic carrier by the Chinese authorities and boarding the plane is possibly not allowed.

Transfer flights are only allowed from countries which have no direct flights to China. From 19 February 2021, passengers traveling from Finland to China will have to take a direct flight.

More information is available on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Finland(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window).

Upon arrival to China, travelers are required to test for Covid-19 and are subject to undergo for at least 14 days of centralized quarantine at their own expense. Several Covid-tests will be performed during the quarantine. Depending on the regulations of the province, a home quarantine as well as health monitoring period may follow. Many hotels have also restricted for example ordering food in the hotel and the regulations vary. In order to complete the quarantine negative Covid-19 test results are required. 

Travelers without a residence in the arrival city will be subject to a health monitoring in a designated hotel. Leaving the hotel room or an apartment might be difficult during the health monitoring, unless there is a medical emergency. Several Covid-tests might also be performed during the health monitoring period.

Local authorities in China’s provinces control traveling mainly by requiring a negative Covid-test result during entry and exit. Traveling can be restricted.

Most public spaces (such as shops and restaurants) will not be accessible unless you have downloaded a health code application on your phone, in most cases integrated on Alipay or WeChat, and can display a green code. In principle, city-specific green codes should work automatically if there is no record of travel abroad or to certain areas that have been identified as high or medium risk areas. Codes usually require a Chinese telephone subscription to work. Due to Delta and Omicron variations, you may need to register with a separate QR code in public spaces, shopping malls or hospitals. Some provinces in China might restrict unvaccinated people from entry into public areas or hospitals.

Depending on the local regulations, a green health code may also be required when traveling within the country. There have been problems with the codes and purchasing flight tickets when traveling within the country, especially for foreigners. The health code application might also have required a new quarantine when arriving to a new area.

Flights by different airlines may be canceled by the Chinese authorities. Interruptions in air travel may take effect on a short schedule and last for several weeks.

More information:

Chinese Foreign Ministry Website(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

Chinese Civil Aviation Authority CAAC website(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

Health

During spring 2022, China has reported the highest rates of coronavirus infection during the entire pandemic, and entire cities may be placed in full lockdown at a short notice. New imported cases have mainly been reported on immigration checks at airports or during the quarantine and the spreading of the virus has been attempted to control effectively.

Provinces where local infections are found are quick to perform mass testing on the population. Local authorities control leaving from the province or even from individual residential buildings. Much of the country has different rules regarding the use of respirators (including public transport and public areas) and quarantine within the country is possible.

A large proportion of people wear respiratory protection, depending on the city, even when outdoors.

For more information:

Chinese National Health Commission NHC website(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

Finnish missions’ customer service

The Embassy of Finland in Beijing and the Consulate General in Shanghai have suspended the processing of most visa applications and the Visa Applications Centers (VACs) are closed for the time being.

The reception of residence permit and passport applications, as well as notarial and legalization services operate normally in all Finnish missions in China.

If you need assistance with passport, notarial or legalization matters, please first contact us by e-mail: [email protected] (Beijing) or [email protected] (Shanghai).

In case of emergency outside office hours, please contact the Finnish Foreign Ministry's emergency service(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window).

Travel notification

We remind all travelers and those already in the country to submit a travel notification(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window).

If you have already submitted a travel notification and your stay abroad has been extended, it is advisable to change the end date on the travel notification. Doing this, we will be informed that you are still in the country, and we can send you notifications and inquiries. If you have registered to the service, you can edit the travel notification yourself. If you have not registered, you can submit a new travel notification.

If your travel notification did not have an end date or you have returned to Finland earlier than planned, the notification should be deleted. If you have registered to the service, you can edit the notification yourself. If you have not registered, you can send a removal request by e-mail to [email protected]. Please note that requests to change or delete a travel notification might take some time to process.

For more information:

Finnish missions on Facebook:

Beijing(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

Shanghai(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

Chinese news sites in English:

Xinhua(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

China Daily(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

Shanghai Daily(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)

china.org.cn(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)