Travelers coming to the US from China will need to take a COVID-19 test some time during the 2 days prior to their departure. Getty Images
- US health officials are going to require negative COVID tests for travelers coming from China.
- The officials are worried about a surge in COVID cases in China, and a lack of public data on variants.
- Testing will be required starting January 5 for everyone over age 2 coming from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Negative COVID-19 test results are going to be required for passengers to board flights from China to the US starting in early 2023. Almost everyone traveling to the United States from China will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, starting next week, federal health officials in the US announced Wednesday.
The US officials cited concerns about a “lack of adequate, transparent sequencing data” currently coming out of China, and noted that surging COVID cases in China may “increase” the potential for new variants to emerge, saying the US is “on alert” to the possibility that new strains of the coronavirus could surface, as restrictions ease and more and more people in China get sick.
“Starting at 12:01 AM Eastern time on January 5th, 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, or Macau, and show a negative test result to the airline,” a US official said during a phone call with reporters, explaining the new policy.
International travelers coming to the US had previously been required to show a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country, but that testing rule was dropped by the Biden Administration in early June. The US is not implementing the new China-specific rule until next Thursday, in order to give airlines time to comply and get organized.
Travelers from China can use rapid antigen self-tests for the requirement, as long as the tests are “administered and monitored by a telehealth service and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration,” federal officials said. Italy’s health minister announced a similar testing requirement for travelers coming from China earlier on Wednesday, and Japan, India, and Malaysia have all adopted similar testing requirements, as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths soar in China.
“We are forecasting that there will be a large number of infections leading to hospitalizations and deaths in China,” a federal official said.