According to two persons who know the decision, the Biden administration is getting ready to ease COVID-19 testing limitations for visitors from China as early as this Friday.
According to the people who spoke anonymously, the administration has decided to scale back the testing requirements because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly and because the United States has better information about the surge. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are decreasing in China.
The restrictions were implemented on December 28 and went into effect on January 5 amid a rise in infections in China following the country’s sharp easing of pandemic restrictions and as U.S. health officials expressed concerns that their Chinese counterparts were not being honest with the world regarding the actual number of infections.
At the time, U.S. officials also argued the ban was required to safeguard U.S. individuals and communities because the Chinese government lacked openness regarding the extent of the spike or the versions circulating within China.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention responded by increasing genetic surveillance at numerous U.S. airports earlier this year, testing aircraft effluent in addition to voluntary sample collection from passengers on hundreds of weekly flights from China.
The Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance Program will monitor passengers from more than 30 nations, including China.
According to the regulations implemented in January, visitors to the United States from China, Hong Kong, and Macau must take a COVID-19 test up to two days before travel and provide a negative test before boarding their flight. The testing applies to anyone two years and older, including U.S. citizens.
It also extended to travelers passing through the United States on their way to other countries after departing from China via a third nation. Any person who tests positive more than ten days before the flight may substitute a negative test result with evidence demonstrating their recovery from COVID-19.
Before allowing passengers to board, airlines must verify negative test results and proof of recovery.
After easing back from its “zero COVID” plan in early December in response to rare public protests against a program that kept millions of people inside their homes and spurred protests and calls for President Xi Jinping to resign, China observed an increase in infections and fatalities.
But, as China relaxed its rigorous regulations, infections, and mortality increased, and for weeks, hospitals in some regions of the nation were overrun by diseased patients in need of assistance.
Yet, the Chinese government has hesitated to divulge information regarding the number of illnesses and fatalities.
At a time when relations between the US and China are tense, the US has decided to relax restrictions.
Last month, after it had traveled across the whole United States, Biden gave the order to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon. The Biden administration has also publicized U.S. intelligence information that raises doubts about Beijing’s consideration of arming Russia in its ongoing conflict with Ukraine.