A senior official at China’s National Immigration Administration says the central government is looking to limit “non-essential” outbound travel by residents of mainland China as a precautionary move against the risk of spreading Covid-19 within the country’s borders in the “winter season”.
Yin Chengji, deputy director of China’s National Immigration Administration, made the remarks during a media briefing at China’s State Council Information Office on Thursday. The topic was Covid-19 prevention and control measures this winter.
It was not clear from the report of Mr Yin’s remarks, carried by the National Immigration Administration website, whether outbound travel included trips to Macau, a special administrative region of China.
The Chinese authorities would adopt a “strict” assessment and approval process for travel permits requested by mainland China residents for any trips involving “non-essential causes”, he was cited as saying.
That definition included “tourism”, “family visits” and “visits to friends”, said the official.
The posting did not mention how long such controls would last, nor the travel destinations covered by it.
But the immigration official stressed that the approach was based on the Chinese government’s assessment of the global outlook regarding Covid-19; considerations regarding management of the country’s border checkpoints during the winter season, and the volume of people they process at that time.
At the same briefing, Mr Yin noted that the authorities would continue to target crimes relating to “cross-border” gambling and “telecom frauds”.