US plans to lift COVID-19 test requirement for travelers from China: report
The US will relax Covid-19 testing requirements for travelers arriving from China as soon as Friday, according to a report.
American officials told the Washington Post On Tuesday, the decision to lift the negative Covid-test requirement was made due to declining cases of the virus in China.
Officials said the change was driven by public health priorities and not foreign policy concerns, according to the outlet.
The new rule was reportedly being finalized on Tuesday, but national security and health officials will notify US airlines, Chinese diplomats and others before publicly announcing the change.
In January, the US and several other countries imposed negative test requirements for air travelers from China over the age of 2 amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the communist nation after Beijing abandoned its strict zero-covid policies.
The U.S. also hopes the testing rule will pressure the Chinese government to be more transparent with its Covid-19 data after releasing unprecedented numbers of cases and deaths – Criticized by health officials Very few – in the race to end its lockdown restrictions.
US officials acknowledge that China is still likely understating the number of deaths and cases, but believe the data point to a decline in infections, as most of the Chinese population was likely infected during the latest wave. .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will still continue its voluntary genomic sequencing program at airports for travelers arriving from China. According to Reuters.
The Genomic Surveillance Program helps health officials detect new variants early and was expanded in December.
Tensions between China and the U.S. have risen since last month’s spy balloon incident — which reportedly flew surveillance craft launched from China’s Hainan Island over sensitive U.S. nuclear weapons sites — and off the coast of South Carolina in February. crossed the US mainland before being shot down from 4.
US officials say China has rejected calls from Washington since the shooting.
In a rare rebuke of US policy, Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday accused the US of leading “containment, encirclement and repression” efforts against the communist power.
In a speech to China’s top political advisory body, Xi said, “Western countries – led by the US – have imposed an all-out embargo, blockade and repression against us, bringing unprecedented and serious challenges to our country’s development. are.”
Beijing has also ruffled feathers over reports that top US agencies, including the Department of Energy and the FBI, have concluded that Covid-19 originated in a lab researching the bat coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Chinese officials have denied the so-called “lab leak theory”, describing it as outrageous.