The United States has announced new COVID-19 testing requirements for all travelers from China.
The new rules follow an easing of pandemic restrictions in China that has led to rising infection rates among the Chinese population.
The new U.S. requirements are set to begin January 5. They will cover all travelers from China, regardless of nationality and regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Under the new rules, travelers to the U.S. from China, Hong Kong and Macau will be required to take a COVID-19 test no more than two days before travel. They must provide a negative test before getting on their flight. The requirements cover any traveler 2 years and older, including American citizens.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 more than 10 days before a flight can provide documentation showing they have recovered from the virus instead of a negative test result.
It will be up to airline companies to confirm negative tests and documentation of recovery before passengers can get on flights.
Other countries have taken similar steps 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. Malaysia announced new measures to track travelers.
India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan are also requiring virus tests for visitors from China.
In a statement, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained that the latest rules were necessary to deal with China’s rising infection rate. In addition, the agency said China has not been open in communicating with other nations about what virus versions, called variants, are currently spreading in the country.
The CDC said such data is important to help countries effectively watch the situation in China and to reduce the chance that a new variant of concern could enter the U.S.
Some scientists fear China’s current rise in infections could release a new COVID-19 variant on the world that may or may not be similar to ones already spreading.
Matthew Binnicker is a virologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He told The Associated Press, “What we want to avoid is having a variant enter into the U.S. and spread like we saw with Delta or Omicron.”
Delta and Omicron were past COVID-19 variants that led to large infection increases across the world.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
The Associated Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
regardless – adj. despite something
negative – adj. in a medical test, negative means the person being tested does not have a disease
positive – adj. in a medical test, positive means the person being tested has a disease or condition
track – v. to closely follow something, often by using electronic equipment
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