Outgoing tourists and families who take along their cuddly pets during the holidays can hang on to a bit of hope: a change in regulations can cut the mandatory isolation period for “low-risk” animals entering or returning to China.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine told China Daily that it is looking to revise quarantine regulations based on the recommendations by the World Organization for Animal Health to prevent the spread of rabies.
The government agency said one of the possible moves is to include a simple test for animals deemed as “low-risk” at their port of entry, which can shorten quarantine period to an hour after arrival from the current seven to 30 days. Animals within the “low-risk” category and what kind of test they will be subjected to are yet to be defined by the agency.
Zhang Ao from the quarantine inspection office at Beijing Capital International Airport told China Daily that pets entering the airport are usually owned by returning Chinese students, diplomats, or foreigners who are permanent residents in China. Ao added that during peak seasons and holidays, the office receives at least seven animals — mainly dogs or cats — a day and checks them for conditions like rabies and other infectious diseases. If found with serious conditions, the animals are usually sent back to the country of origin.
Meanwhile, other foreign residents planning to leave China with their pets are advised to prepare at least six months in advance, given that many countries and airlines have stringent restrictions on transporting animals. The International Center for Veterinary Services has come up with a list to prepare pets for relocation or rehoming.