Why some countries will restrict the arrival of travelers from China?
The United States will require all travelers from China to show a negative Covid-19 test before flying to the country, as the rapid relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in Beijing leads to a spike in cases.
Passengers flying to the US from China will need to get tested no more than two days before they fly, federal health officials said, and present proof of the negative test to their airline before boarding.
The tests can be a PCR test or an antigen self-test administered through a telehealth service.
The requirement will apply both to passengers flying directly to the United States from China and to passengers flying through popular third-country ports of entry, including Seoul, Toronto and Vancouver.
Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days prior to their flight may provide documentation of their recovery in lieu of a negative test result.
The new rules will go into effect at 12:01 am ET on January 5.
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US officials have expressed deep concerns about China's lack of transparency around the latest surge in cases, particularly the absence of information on genome sequencing that could help detect new strains of the coronavirus.
“We know that these measures will not eliminate all risks or completely prevent infected people from entering the United States,” a federal health official said.
Still, "together, they will help limit the number of people infected and give us early warning of new variants."
The new requirements come as Japan and India announced their own covid-19 measures for travelers from China amid concerns about a spike 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 show proof of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival in India and quarantine if they test positive.
China has started to loosen its strict covid-19 measures after dismantling the country's longtime zero covid policy earlier this month.
On Monday, China announced that it will end quarantine requirements for international arrivals effective January 8, marking an important step toward reopening its borders.
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But the sudden end to China's strict health policy has caught many in the country by surprise and strained the health system as it grapples with a surge in infections.
China's foreign ministry responded Wednesday to reports that the United States is considering imposing restrictions on travelers from China, urging the parties to work together to ensure the safe movement of people between countries and the stability of the supply chain. global supply.
"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 supply chain of the global industrial chain, and promote the resumption of healthy growth in the world economy," he said. Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a briefing.