The latest twist in the pandemic in the United States brings back the requirement for negative coronavirus tests for travelers who want to enter the country by air from China.
This was announced this Wednesday by the Joe Biden Administration.
The measure will apply from next January 5.
The new restriction, decreed by officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also applies to flights from Hong Kong and Macao, and responds to growing concern from Washington about both the extraordinary increase in cases in China, after the Communist Party abruptly declared the zero covid policy to be overturned in early December in the face of protests for three years of confinement, as well as "the lack of transparency" about the outbreak that is plaguing the Asian country in recent weeks.
The US authorities are suspicious of the real number of cases that Beijing admits and also about the information provided about the variant that dominates in these infections.
"These data," says the CDC statement, "are critical to effectively follow the increase in cases and reduce the possibility of entry [into the North American country] of new and worrisome variants."
Beijing's response has come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "China has always believed that the measures taken to prevent the epidemic should be scientific and moderate, and should not affect normal exchange between people," said Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the ministry.
“We need all parties to work together scientifically against the pandemic to ensure the safe movement of people between countries, maintain the stability of the global supply chain, and promote the resumption of healthy growth in the world economy.”
It is paradoxical that, after three years of draconian restrictions on the movement of people, China is now the defender of freedom of travel on the international board.
The measure affects passengers over the age of two, regardless of their nationality and their vaccination status.
The requirement to present a negative test (either a PCR or an antigen test done no more than two days before takeoff) will apply to those people from the Asian giant who enter the United States through a third country, or who use your airports to connect with other destinations.
Hong Kong scientists have pinned the omicron subvariant known as BF.7 as the dominant one in China.
In the United States, BA.5 continues to be stronger, according to epidemiologists, although BF.7 has been present in the country since at least last September.
At this point in late December, it only stars 4% of infections.
The US authorities have justified that the measures do not enter into force until January 5 to give airlines time to adapt to the new rules.
The United States is the latest country to join a restrictive trend on traveler movements that seemed to have been overcome.
Japan, Italy, Taiwan and India have also announced anti-covid measures for flights from China.
Tokyo, for example, will require them to undergo a covid-19 test upon arrival in the country from December 30.
Indian authorities have gone further by forcing travelers from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand to submit a negative test.
They will have to prove that they are healthy upon arrival at the airport.
Positives are required to keep 10 days of quarantine.