China eased its strict visa restrictions after largely suspending its granting to foreign students, among others, more than two years ago at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The website of the Chinese embassy in India said the updated procedure would take effect on Wednesday, but did not specifically mention the requirement to be vaccinated or to submit a negative virus test.

China continues to require those entering the country from abroad to quarantine in a hotel or a private home, and in many public and commercial spaces a negative test is required to gain access.

The easing of visa restrictions is significant for Indian students, especially those pursuing degrees like medicine, which are more affordable in China than in Western countries.

“For students returning to China to continue their studies: a ‘Return to Campus Certificate’ issued by the university in China is (required),” the embassy explained.

The Chinese legation in Washington also published a notice about new rules for students and other travelers that will take effect from Wednesday.

China almost completely closed its borders after the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019. The government has maintained a strict “zero COVID” policy that has confined million people, but the measures have been gradually lifted due to the reduction in infections and the outrage of the population at its economic and social cost.

The country continues to experience sporadic coronavirus outbreaks, with 1,641 new cases of domestic transmission confirmed on Wednesday, including in remote regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang in the northwest. Most of the patients are asymptomatic and no new deaths were reported.

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