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China Lifts Pandemic Travel Restrictions; Celebrity Deaths Add Doubt to Official COVID Toll

HeadlineJan 09, 2023

China lifted nearly all its travel restrictions Sunday after three years of relative isolation since the start of the COVID pandemic. Incoming travelers no longer need to quarantine upon arrival. China also opened its land and sea borders with Hong Kong, as tens of thousands of people streamed to and from the mainland.

Teresa Chow: “I am so happy, so happy, so excited. I haven’t seen my parents for many years. My parents are not in good health, and I couldn’t go back to see them even when they had colon cancer. So I’m really happy to go back and see them now.”

This comes amid a massive coronavirus surge in China since the rollback of its “zero-COVID” policy. The recent spike in deaths of celebrities and public figures has sowed further doubt about the reliability of official COVID reports, even as their causes of death have not been confirmed. Forty-year-old opera singer Chu Lanlan and screenwriter Ni Zhen, who wrote the acclaimed film “Raise the Red Lantern,” are among the recently deceased. The U.N. and others have called out Beijing for underrepresenting the country’s true COVID toll after it stopped publishing daily data.

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