CDC Requires Negative COVID-19 Tests From Travelers Flying From China

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to ensure that the COVID-19 surge in China would not lead to another pandemic wave in the country. 

This week, the public health agency announced that it would be requiring travelers flying from China to present negative COVID-19 test results before they are allowed to board flights headed to the U.S.

The new requirement will be implemented in airports with flights to the United States based in the People’s Republic of China, the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. 

The move is said to prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country amid the current surge in cases in China and the Asian giant’s lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data.

Various sources reported that China has been downplaying the size and severity of the surge in its country, making scientists from around the world wonder and worry about what could be happening in the world’s most populous nation. 

However, the U.K.-based health data firm Airfinity said Thursday that China has been witnessing around 9,000 deaths daily amid the latest surge in the country, twice the estimate from a week ago, according to Reuters

COVID infections across China significantly increased in November and continued to do so this month after Beijing officially dismantled its zero-COVID policies, allowing people to go out of their homes and putting an end to the lockdowns there. 

Experts told the New York Times that the sheer speed of the virus’ spread would suggest a higher number of deaths. One city in China reported half a million cases in one day last week. Another city recorded a million. 

The U.S. CDC said it would continue to monitor the situation and adjust its approach to travelers from China when necessary. But for now, it is eager to decrease the chances of another novel variant of concern from China entering the U.S. 

The requirement will be implemented on Jan. 5. All air passengers two years and older from China would be required to get tested and present a negative PCR or antigen self-test result no more than two days before their departure. This requirement will be implemented for all, regardless of nationality and vaccination status. 

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