Travelers flying from China to the United States will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before they board starting on Jan. 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday.
Passengers two years and older will be required to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within two days before departure at the gate, the CDC said in a press release.
The rule will also apply to travelers coming from China to the USA via a third country, and only exempts those who tested positive for the bug at least 10 days before the flight and “can provide documentation of recovery … in lieu of a negative test result.”
The move comes after the easing of China’s strict “zero-COVID” policies earlier this month, which has led to the country’s largest coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic.
US officials opted to reinstate the testing requirement for travelers from China due to a “lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from” the country, the CDC release said.
“These data are critical to monitor the case surge effectively and decrease the chance for entry of a novel variant of concern,” the release added.
This is the first time the Biden administration has re-instated mandatory COVID mandates on a foreign country since lifting the last similar measures in June, although the government has continued to recommend pre-flight testing.
Other countries have taken similar steps to filter travelers from China in recent weeks in an effort to keep infections from spreading beyond China’s borders.
Japan will require a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival for travelers from China, and Malaysia announced new tracking and surveillance measures. India, South Korea and Taiwan are also requiring virus tests for visitors from China.
On Monday, two flights from China to Milan turned up nearly 100 positive COVID results — nearly half of the total flyers on board.
With Post wires