U.S. Mandates Negative COVID-19 Test Result From Travelers Coming From China

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The United States now mandates travelers with flights originating from the People’s Republic of China to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 result. This new policy set and implemented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to kick off on the 5th of January, 2023. This policy is slated as a strict quarantine measure applying to travelers coming from China, Hong Kong, and Macau no matter their vaccination status.

U.S. Mandates Negative COVID-19 Test Result From Travelers Coming From China
U.S. Mandates Negative COVID-19 Test Result From Travelers Coming From China

The new CDC covid-19 test policy was put in place as a response to the surge in covid-19 cases in China. As a result, this policy is a step taken to slow the spread of the virus and any new variant in the United States.

A Rise In COVID-19 Cases In China

Although China spent the better part of 2020 and 2021 trying to restrict the increase in Covid-19 cases within its territory, its little success has recently ground to a halt. The country is now facing an uptick in covid-19 cases, a problem that is overwhelming its healthcare system.

Covid-19 originated in Wuhan city in China in December 2019. Wuhan marked the epicenter of the pandemic before the coronavirus quickly spread throughout China and outside the country. Causing thousands of deaths, covid-19 took a toll on China’s usually unshakeable economy, causing the country to implement several bans and restrictions to keep the virus at bay. 

While these bans- including the quarantine travel restrictions- worked for a while, China is once again facing what will most likely be the nation’s and world’s largest wave of the viral pandemic. Beijing and other major cities are currently recording an increase in case numbers. With the numbers climbing once again, China’s public health specialists predict millions of people within and outside the country could be infected with the virus.

One reason experts speculate is the cause of the steadily increasing number of cases in China is a lack of immunity and a large number of unvaccinated citizens. Many people within the country are vulnerable to the infection with even more people susceptible to the new variants.

China Relaxes COVID-19 Regulations

Although healthcare centers in China are currently scrambling to contain the new covid-19 outbreaks in the country, Chinese officials have eased restrictions on international travelers. The country announced that starting January 8, 2023, travelers will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival. This marked an abrupt end to China’s almost three years of zero-Covid policy restriction.

Before this change, Chinese citizens’ ability to travel outside the country was restricted. Travelers from outside the country were required to quarantine at a hotel for five days at a centralized facility. This was to be immediately followed by three days of isolation at home. Now, China has loosened lockdown requirements and eliminated mandatory regular coronavirus testing.

The U.S. Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions On Travelers

Following the changes in China’s coronavirus policy, CDC is urging travelers and tourists from the U.S. to rethink trips to China. The CDC now requires travelers coming from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, and the Special Administrative Regions of Macau to show a negative COVID-19 test result. Together with this, the agency also requires documentation of recovery for travelers and asks travelers to take a Covid-19 not more than 48 hours before their arrival to the U.S.

The CDC’s precautions come as a response to China’s lack of adequate and transparent covid case data. As a result, the precautions apply to all air passengers younger than two years old coming from China. 

To reduce the rate of transmission, CDC states that the Covid-19 restrictions apply to every traveler regardless of nationality or vaccination status. It also applies to every passenger coming from Incheon International Airport who has been in China for the last ten days.

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