- As travel increases following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, continue to monitor reliable and latest information to prevent blind spots of risk
- Carefully assess any travel plans, staying up to date with changing COVID-19 transmission risks, restrictions, testing, isolation and quarantine requirements
The Chinese Lunar New Year, also widely known as the Spring Festival, falls on 22 January this year. As many locations, including China, have eased numerous COVID-19-related entry restrictions, International SOS emphasises the importance for organisations and their workforces to continue to monitor the situation as COVID-19 continues to circulate.
The 40 days around the Spring festival is typically amongst the most significant travel periods of the year (last year around 13 million people travelled within China during the Spring Festival1), with many around the world observing the holiday, returning to their hometowns across China to reunite with family. As the border is now open, international travel volume has increased and is expected to surge during the Lunar New Year public holiday (21-27 January).
Travellers can now enter China if they have a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of their arrival, and do not need to quarantine on arrival. However, there remains the possibility of short notice restrictions being implemented and several countries now require a negative COVID-19 test for travellers from China, prior to arrival and at the time of entry.
Dr Irene Lai, Global Medical Director at International SOS, comments,
The removal of COVID-19 travel restrictions into China facilitates the resumption of travel, allowing many to return home to be with family and brings an optimistic outlook for organisations to return to the China market. Nevertheless, proactive planning and preparation are necessary as there are implications for onward travel, an ongoing risk of COVID-19 infection, and remaining regulations on the management of people infected with COVID-19. A rise in respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza, may occur, associated with gatherings during the festivities. It is important for organisations and their workforce, particularly those travelling to and from China, to continue to closely monitor the situation and remain informed. Individuals should continue to take basic measures to prevent infection, such as using hand sanitiser, avoiding crowded enclosed spaces, and consider wearing a mask.
Dr Lai adds,
Organisations should also strengthen their Duty of Care and provide employees with education and mental health support.
Top tips organisations can encourage employees to stay healthy and safe during the Chinese New Year holiday:
- Ensure that you are up to date with your vaccinations, including COVID-19 and influenza.
- Check, and continue to monitor, the entry and quarantine requirements for your point of departure, transit locations, final destination and return. These may change with little warning.
- Do not travel if you are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Ensure you have an adequate supply of your medications and access to essential goods, due to the potential for sudden disruption of services and supply chains.
- Avoid crowds and poorly-ventilated spaces.
- Consider wearing a mask.
- Follow general hygiene measures including washing your hands / using hand sanitiser, selecting safer food and beverages, maintaining regular physical activity and getting adequate rest.
International SOS’ COVID Health Awareness virtual training is available to help you support your workforce. The training includes information on the current COVID-19 situation and can be delivered in English or Mandarin.
For further information on protecting the global workforce, click here.
About the International SOS Group of Companies
The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help protect your people, your organisation's reputation, as well as support your compliance reporting needs. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability.
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