U.S. to lift COVID-19 testing requirements for Chinese travelers
While the Biden administration will relax travel restrictions on flights coming from China, it still plans to monitor cases to prevent a new wave of infections from reaching the country
March 8, 2023 8:19am
Updated: March 8, 2023 8:19am
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is planning to lift the COVID-19 testing requirements for travelers coming from China as soon as Friday after the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have declined in the Asian country.
While the Biden administration will relax travel restrictions on flights coming from China, it still plans to monitor cases to prevent a new wave of infections from reaching the country, according to a source familiar with the matter.
China saw a significant surge in COVID-19 cases after it abruptly ended its zero-COVID policy in December with very little prior warning or preparation.
Given the surge, federal health officials announced on Dec. 28 that the U.S. would require all travelers preceding from China, Macau, or Hong Kong to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a plane starting Jan. 5. The measure applied to all individuals traveling from China via a third country and people connecting through the U.S. and required the test from all travelers, including U.S. citizens.
Since then, Chinese authorities have declared victory over the virus, according to Chinese state media. Canada, Italy, Japan, and India, among other countries, were some of the first to drop the testing requirements against travelers coming from China.
The CDC said that it's airport surveillance has caught a handful of COVID-19 cases arriving from travelers coming from China, according to data on the GISAID database. However, the agency added that the cases are Omicron variants, similar to those seen in the U.S. and other countries.