Epidemic Prevention Measures at Chinese Ports
The Club would like to draw Members' attention to the latest circular from Shanghai P&I Services Ltd. relating to the update to the general situation of epidemic prevention measures and changes at Chinese ports. The Chinese government changed in approach and lifted the various related restrictions on COVID-19 since December 2022.
1. General situation
On 26 December 2022, the National Health Commission of China issued the "Overall Plan for measures against COVID-19 infection", according to which China would, since 8 January 2023 manage COVID-19 with measures against Class B infectious diseases, instead of Class A infectious diseases, in a major shift of its epidemic response policies. In detail, the person infected with COVID-19 will no longer be isolated and their close contacts will no longer be identified, no longer delineating high and low risk areas, implementing hierarchical and classified admissions for infected people and adjusting medical security policies, adjusting nucleic acid testing, and adjusting the frequency and content of epidemic information releases etc.
COVID-19 testing and centralised isolation for all overseas travelers entering China will be canceled, and those with a normal health declaration and no abnormality in routing quarantines at the customs port can be green lighted to social mobility.
2. Improvement on immigration management policies
The National Immigration Administration of China issued an announcement on 27 December 2022 in order to improve immigration management policies and measures with effect from 8 January 2023. According to Article No.7 of the announcement, China will gradually resume customs clearance for passenger transport at water ports; allow qualified ports to resume entry and exit of liner passengers, issue embarkation documents and vessel berthing alongside documents in accordance with the law; issue temporary entry permits to foreign crewmembers who meet entry conditions; and cancel the "no disembarkation, no boarding, no getting alongside" management measures at Chinese ports.
3. Update on Crew change at Chinese ports
The Ministry of Transport together with other related departments, issued a notice regarding the crew change on international sailing vessels, starting from 8 January 2023.
(1) Abolish the approval procedures for crew change at Chinese ports
The local authorities at Chinese ports will no longer implement the approval process for crew change (including crew disembarkation) of the international sailing vessels, and only need to carry out the formalities of immigration inspection for issuance of temporary entry permits. In other words, the COVID-19 restrictions for crew change at Chinese port have no been lifted.
(2) Facilitate the crew change and entry
Nucleic acid testing and centralised quarantine will no longer be carried out for the crew members who are to sign off at Chinese ports. Crew members of international sailing vessels intending to change crew at Chinese ports shall take nucleic acid tests within 48 hours before the vessel leaves the last port outside China, and those who tested positive should be treated at the nearest port in time.
For the crew who cannot provide nucleic acid test results of within 48 hours before entry due to difficulty in travelling, the antigen test results can also be acceptable.
If the health declaration is normal and the customs' routine inspection finds no abnormality, the crew can be green-lighted to social mobility. If there is abnormality in the health declaration, the customs will establish the measures to be taken according to the exact situation.
4. Update on epidemic prevention measures at Chinese ports
We have recently received some enquiries from Clubs/Members in relation to the update on epidemic prevention measures at Chinese ports following the China's change in approach and opening up for COVID. We have accordingly checked with local parties at Chinese ports and sorted out the related information, which is attached to this Circular for your easy reference. In general, the COVID-19 restrictions at most Chinese ports have been gradually lifted, including that the COVID-19 testing of crew is no longer required, and the disembarkation of crew and attendance of surveyor onboard the vessel becomes feasible. Currently there are still some restrictions at small ports or set up by private terminals, but the situation may change in the near future. For the vessels to call at Chinese ports, the Owners are always recommended to contact local agents or our local offices for the latest information/requirement in case of need.
For the full update, the Circular is available for download below.