US announces negative COVID test requirement for travelers from China

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Concerned about the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in China, the U.S. will be implementing new precautionary measures for people traveling from China.

After China’s prolonged “zero-COVID” policy gave rise to an outburst of protests, drastic changes were made to the policy allowing infected people to quarantine at home, the easing of travel restrictions and the opening of public venues. Inbound travelers to China will no longer be required to quarantine starting Jan. 8, only requiring a negative test result within 48-hours before departure to China.

However, with these changes developing at a rapid pace, COVID-19 cases in China are increasing exponentially.

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According to reports from China’s top government health authority, nearly 37 million people contracted the virus in a single day last week.

Public health professionals and federal officials in the U.S. have expressed concern that the persistent spread of the virus may result in a new variant, causing infection surges similar to the effects of the Omicron strain.

Based on these new developments, U.S. officials had been speaking with public health specialists about the implementation of new prevention measures for those traveling from China.

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On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that all travelers from China would have to show a negative COVID-19 test result no more than two days before being allowed to fly to the U.S.

The rule effects all those aged 2 years and up who are leaving directly from China, Hong Kong and Macau, and those flying in through third-country gateways.

Acceptable proof includes results from PCR tests or antigen self-tests administered through approved telehealth services. Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 more than 10 days before departure can show documentation of recovery instead of a negative test result.

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The new pre-departure measure will take effect starting Jan. 5.

Earlier in the month, countries including Japan, India and Malaysia also instituted new requirements for travelers from China.

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