China plans to keep pandemic border restrictions in place for at least another year amid fears over the emergence of new variants and a calendar of sensitive events, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The provisional timeline for the second half of 2022 was set during a meeting of China's cabinet, or State Council, in mid-May, the WSJ said.
China sharply reduced transport links with other countries as the coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, spread around the world last year.
The capital, Beijing, is due to host the Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympics in February 2022, bringing thousands of participating athletes to the country.
Travelers to mainland China, regardless of nationality, face tough requirements prior to travel including multiple medical tests and stringent quarantine rules upon entry.
Airlines, both Chinese and non-Chinese, also face the risk of their flight routes being suspended temporarily if a certain number of infected passengers are detected on arrival in China.
Reported daily cases in China are currently far lower than in other major countries but the Chinese government is acutely aware of potential wider transmissions due to its dense urban populations and highly developed transport network.
China reported 25 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the mainland for June 21, of which 23 were imported infections, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday.