US to require travelers from China to test negative for covid-19

(CNN) — The United States will require all travelers from China to present a negative covid-19 test before traveling to the country, as the rapid easing of covid-19 restrictions in Beijing leads to an increase in cases.

Passengers traveling to the United States from China will be required to take a Covid-19 test no more than two days before their flight, federal health officials said, and present a negative test to the airline they traveled with. intention to fly before boarding.

The tests can be a PCR test or an antigen self-test administered through a telehealth service.

The requirement will apply to both passengers traveling directly to the United States from China and people traveling through popular ports of entry from other countries, such as the cities of Seoul (South Korea), Toronto and Vancouver (Canada).

Passengers who test positive more than 10 days before their flight can provide documentation of their recovery in lieu of a negative test result.

The new rules will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on January 5.

U.S. officials have expressed deep concerns about China’s lack of transparency over the latest surge in cases, particularly the lack of genome sequencing information that could help detect new strains of coronavirus.

“We know that these measures will not eliminate all risk or completely prevent infected people from entering the United States,” a federal health official said. However, “together they will help limit the number of people infected and alert us quickly to new variants”.

The new requirements come as Japan and India announced their own covid-19 measures for travelers from China amid concerns about a rise in cases.

Japan requires people traveling from China to be tested for covid-19 upon arrival from December 30. Indian authorities have said travelers from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand will be required to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival in India and self-quarantine. they are positive.

China began easing its tough covid-19 measures after dismantling the country’s longstanding zero covid policy earlier this month. On Monday, China announced that it would end quarantine requirements for international arrivals from January 8, marking an important step towards reopening its borders.

Chinese residents seek options for overseas travel 0:44

But the sudden end to China’s strict health policy surprised many in the country and strained the health system as it grapples with rising infections.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded on Wednesday to reports that the United States was considering imposing restrictions on travelers from China, urging parties to work together to ensure the safe movement of people between countries and stability. of the global supply chain.

“We need all parties to work together scientifically against the epidemic to ensure the safe movement of people between countries, maintain the stability of the global industrial chain supply chain, and promote the resumption of healthy growth of the global economy,” he said. Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a press briefing.