Beijing, Sep 23 (PTI) China on Wednesday lifted its ban on valid visas imposed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and said that foreign nationals holding Chinese residence permits in three categories are allowed to enter the country from September 28 without obtaining new visas.
On March 28, China temporarily banned the entry of foreign nationals with valid visas which, according to officials here, was aimed at restricting border entry to curb the surge of imported COVID-19 infections.
Effective from September 28, all foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters and reunion are allowed to enter China and there is no need to apply for new visas, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
If the three categories of residence permits held by foreign nationals expired after March 28, they may apply for new visas by presenting their expired residence permits and documents to Chinese embassies or consulates on the condition that the purpose of the holders' visit to the country remains unchanged, the statement said.
Hundreds of Indian students and professionals working in China could not return to the country following the visa ban as well as cancellation of flights.
China is yet to open for the return of foreign students studying in its colleges and universities.
Currently, a number of Indian professionals and businessmen have returned to China in five Vande Bharat flights organised by the Indian government to evacuate the Indians stuck in China.
Those returning to China needed to undergo 14-day quarantine in designated hotels under strict supervision of health officials.
The new adjustment is in view of the current COVID-19 situation, which is basically under control in China, and the need for epidemic prevention and control, the statement said.
It also said that while ensuring effective epidemic control, the Chinese government will continue to resume people-to-people exchanges in a step-by-step and orderly manner.
Such relaxed measures built on complete and strict epidemic control and prevention measures in China are necessary, Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the state-run Global Times.
Yang believes that the entry of these foreigners would not cause an outbreak rebound. PTI KJV ZH ZH