The move has been welcomed by many eager to reunite with family. In Hong Kong, 400,000 people are expected to travel into mainland China in the coming weeks with long queues for flights into cities including Beijing and Xiamen. On Sunday, double decker coaches packed with travellers arrived at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge to catch buses to the Guangdong province - among them were college students returning home.
One man told the BBC he hadn't seen his extended family in five years and couldn't hold back his excitement having just bought a ticket back to China. A woman told news agency Reuters she had not seen her parents in years - despite one of them suffering from colon cancer - and said she was "so, so happy". The country's reopening comes at the start of "chun yun", the first period of Lunar New Year travel. Before the pandemic it was the largest annual worldwide migration of people returning home to spend time with family.