Mar 30, 2021 08:40 PM

Foreigners' Guide to Quarantine and Getting Vaccinated in China

People sit in an observation area Monday in Shanghai after receiving a dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: VCG
People sit in an observation area Monday in Shanghai after receiving a dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: VCG

Health authorities in Beijing and Shanghai have started taking applications from eligible foreign residents to receive Chinese-developed Covid-19 vaccines, which will be given free to those enrolled in the cities’ medical insurance systems.

According to a statement released last Friday, foreigners aged 18 and above in Beijing can make an appointment for vaccination through their workplace or local community.

They may then get vaccinated at a nearby venue as directed by district-level authorities. They are required to provide valid passports and residence permits when making an appointment, and will be vaccinated on site, the statement said.

In Shanghai, a similar vaccination program for foreigners was announced in a statement last Monday. They will be able to apply through the city’s Health Cloud app to receive vaccinations starting from March 29.

The jabs to be used in both cities are Chinese-made inactivated vaccines and require a course of two doses to be effective.


Quarantine policy for inbound travelers

Foreign nationals entering China are subject to the same quarantine rules as Chinese nationals returning from abroad.

Most Chinese cities apply a 14+7 quarantine policy which requires 14 days of centralized medical quarantine followed by seven days of home isolation. Some cities also require people to complete seven days of community health monitoring after they finish the 21-day quarantine.

Community health monitoring requires the inbound person to undergo a further seven days of self-health monitoring which is overseen by community health managers.

During this period, a person should do a daily temperature check and report it to community monitors. If the person experiences any symptoms, they should be reported in a timely manner. A nucleic acid test is required when the seven-day community health monitoring period ends.

Most cities require inbound travelers entering China to complete nucleic acid tests on the first, seventh and fourteenth day of quarantine.

In Shanghai, if the inbound person has a fixed place of residence in the city and meets the required conditions for home isolation health observance, the period of centralized quarantine is shortened to seven days.

The inbound person meets these home isolation conditions if they are quarantined alone or with family, or if their co-residents also commit to home isolation.

Some cities loosened their home isolation policies in March. Shenzhen, for example, announced on March 25 that it would only require 14 days of centralized quarantine.


Contact editor Lu Zhenhua (

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