The United States will require all travelers from China to show a negative Covid-19 test result before flying to the country as Beijing’s rapid easing of Covid-19 restrictions leads to a surge in cases writes the CNN.
The tests can be either a PCR test or an antigen self-test administered through a telehealth service.
The requirement will apply both to passengers flying directly to the United States from China as well to passengers flying through popular third-country gateways, including Seoul, Toronto and Vancouver.
Passengers who test positive more than 10 days before their flight can provide documentation of their recovery in lieu of a negative test result.
The new rules take effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on January 5.
American officials have expressed deep concerns about China’s lack of transparency surrounding the most recent surge in cases, particularly the absence of genome sequencing information that could help detect new strains of the coronavirus.
“We know these measures will not eliminate all risk or completely prevent people who are infected from entering the United States,” a federal health official said. Still, “taken together they will help limit the number of infected people and provide us an early warning about new variants.”
US health officials said the January 5 timeline was selected to provide airlines with ample time to adjust operations to implement the new rules. The officials did not estimate how long they expect these rules to remain in place, saying they would “monitor the situation on the ground and adjust as needed.”