The Biden administration is planning new coronavirus precautions on travelers arriving from China due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and concerns about the lack of transparent reporting data from the country, federal health officials said Wednesday.
Beginning Jan. 5, all air passengers at least 2 years old originating from China will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test no more than two days before their departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau.
The requirement will apply to all air passengers, regardless of nationality and vaccination status, officials said. Airlines must confirm the COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from all passengers before they board.
Passengers flying through Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport on their way to the United States will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test no more than two days before their departure to the United States if they’ve been in China in the last two days, officials said.
China is rapidly ending its strict “zero COVID” policy in the face of protests, and infections are running wild without an adequate health infrastructure in place. But the Chinese government has virtually stopped reporting any outbreak data, and Biden administration health officials said they were concerned about potential new variants circulating without their knowledge.
“We have very limited information and public databases about variants that are circulating in China presently. In the past few months, only about 100 sequences have been uploaded,” a federal health official told reporters during a press briefing Wednesday.