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U.S. weighs recent measures for travelers from China

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For greater than two years, overseas travelers have needed to quarantine upon arrival in China due to Covid restrictions. Pictured here at Beijing International Airport on June 18, 2022, are passengers waiting to be taken to quarantine-designated destinations.

Leo Ramirez | Afp | Getty Images

The U.S. government is considering imposing recent Covid rules for travelers from China, officials said, citing concerns over virus-related data released by the Chinese government.

“There are mounting concerns within the international community on the continuing COVID-19 surges in China and the shortage of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data, being reported from the PRC,” officials said in an announcement late Tuesday.

“Without this data, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for public health officials to be sure that they may have the option to discover any potential recent variants and take prompt measures to cut back the spread,” the officials said.

The officials pointed to Japan’s recent measures which require a negative Covid test for travelers arriving from mainland China from Dec. 30 – as China faces a pointy surge in infections nationwide following an abrupt reopening.

Travelers from China with no valid vaccination certificate will even be required to take a pre-departure test, the notice from Japan’s health ministry added. The measures is not going to apply to those traveling from Hong Kong and Macao, in accordance with the notice.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

When asked for comment on Japan’s measures, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized a necessity for a “science-based” measures, without elaborating further.

“The present COVID situation on this planet continues to call for a science-based response approach and joint effort to make sure protected cross-border travel, keep global industrial and provide chains stable, and restore world economic growth,” deputy director-general Wang Wenbin told reporters in a Tuesday briefing.

The U.S. officials mentioned Malaysia can also be taking measures while India and the World Health Organization have expressed their concern in regards to the situation in China.

“The U.S. is following the science and advice of public health experts, consulting with partners, and considering taking similar steps we are able to take to guard the American people,” the officials said.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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