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US mandates COVID Screening for travelers from China

The United States is the latest among countries demanding Covid screening of travelers from China. The move comes as Beijing is easing pandemic restrictions despite a surge in cases.

The US will require negative COVID-19 tests from all travelers from China, joining other nations imposing restrictions at surging infections.

The new rules take effect on January 5, two days before China ease its own restrictions on travel to and from the country.

“All air passengers two years and older originating from China will be required to get a test no more than two days before their departure from China, Hong Kong and Macau, and show a negative test result to the airlines upon departure,” a US federal health official said.

Other countries, including Japan, India, and South Korea, have taken similar steps to keep infections from spreading beyond China’s borders. 

China is in the midst of an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases but observers say official statistics hide the true extent of the wave.

“The recent rapid increase in Covid-19 transmission in China increases the potential for new variants emerging,” US official told reporters in a phone briefing. “Based on this lack of available data, it’s harder for US public health officials to identify new variants spreading to the United States,” the official added.

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