Dec. 29, 2022 -- Travelers from China into the United States will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test starting January 5, U.S. officials announced Wednesday in response to Beijing’s lifting of its strict regulations.
Passengers 2 years old and older must have a negative test result no later than two days before leaving China, Hong Kong or Macao, federal officials told reporters. A passenger who tested positive more than 10 days before a flight can show documentation of recovery instead of the negative test result, Reuters reported.
U.S officials complained earlier this week about China’s “lack of transparent data” regarding the pandemic. This month, China started removing its “zero tolerance” policy on COVID-19, which Reuters called “the world’s toughest COVID regime of lockdowns and extensive testing.”
On Monday, China announced it is ending quarantine requirements for international arrivals, a big move to reopen its borders, CNN reported.
Some experts say the coronavirus could be infecting millions of people a day since China lifted its restrictions after widespread protests against the severe restrictions.
“International modeling groups have predicted China could suffer 2 million or more deaths,” Reuters reported.
China has nine vaccines but none of them targets the highly infectious Omicron variant. The country is struggling to vaccinate older people.
“The overall vaccination rate is over 90%, but the rate among adults who have received booster shots falls to 57.9% and among those aged 80 and over to 42.3%, according to data from the Chinese government last week,” Reuters reported.
Other countries, including India, Italy, Japan, and Taiwan, already have taken measures after Beijing loosened restrictions.