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U.S. would require airline passengers traveling from China to check negative for Covid


Travelers check in at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport in on Dec. 12, 2022, after China relaxed domestic travel restrictions.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Biden administration would require airline passengers traveling from China to check negative for Covid before entering the U.S. as concern grows that widespread transmission of the virus on the earth’s most populous country could end in latest variants.

All airline passengers two years and older originating from China, Hong Kong or Macau can be required to get tested for Covid not more than two days before their flight to the U.S. and show a negative result to the airline upon departure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday.

The necessities, which apply no matter nationality and vaccination status, start Jan. 5. Travelers can get a PCR test or a rapid self-test that is run and monitored by a telehealth service. The rapid test should be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or the relevant national authority.

Airline passengers flying through Incheon International Airport in South Korea in addition to Toronto Pearson and Vancouver International Airports in Canada may even must test negative for Covid before heading to the U.S. in the event that they were in China 10 days beforehand.

These three airports cover the overwhelming majority of travelers whose trips originated in China but have connecting flights to the U.S., in keeping with the CDC.

The testing requirements come as China battles a serious outbreak of the virus after easing its stringent zero-Covid policy within the wake of social unrest earlier this 12 months.

The U.S. has limited information on the situation on the bottom in China, a federal health official told reporters on a call Wednesday. Testing has decreased across China and it’s unclear what variants are circulating on the mainland because genomic surveillance data can be limited, the official said.

“The recent rapid increase in transmission in China increases the potential for brand new variants emerging,” the health official said. The U.S. is taking proactive steps to guard the general public’s health and be on the alert for brand new Covid variants because the situation in China unfolds, in keeping with the official.

The CDC is expanding its program that monitors international travelers for brand new Covid variants to incorporate airports in Los Angeles and Seattle. The surveillance program will now include seven airports and canopy about 500 weekly flights, including 290 flights from China and the encircling area.

The surveillance program collects nasal swabs from international travelers on a voluntary basis, and the CDC then analyzes the samples that test positive for Covid to find out in the event that they are a latest virus variant.

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