US To Relax Covid Testing Rules For Travelers From China

According to two sources, the Biden administration will ease Covid-19 testing rules for Chinese tourists on Friday.

According to two persons informed with the issue, the Biden administration is getting ready to ease the Covid-19 testing limits for visitors from China as early as this Friday.

The administration has decided to reduce the testing requirements as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining in China and the US has gathered better information about the surge, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The measures were implemented on December 28 and went into effect on January 5 in the midst of a rise in infections in China following the country’s sharp easing of pandemic restrictions and as US health officials expressed concerns that their Chinese counterparts were not being truthful with the world regarding the true number of infections and deaths. The anticipated government decision was first reported on Tuesday.

At the time, US officials added that the limitation was required to safeguard US persons and communities because the Chinese authorities lacked transparency regarding the magnitude of the surge or the variations that were going through China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended genetic surveillance at numerous US airports earlier this year as part of its reaction, as well as collecting volunteer samples from passengers on hundreds of weekly flights from China and analyzing wastewater on board aircraft. The Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance Program will keep an eye on passengers from more than 30 different nations, including China.

According to the regulations put in place in January, visitors from China, Hong Kong, and Macau must take a Covid-19 test no later than two days prior to their journey and present a negative result before boarding. Anybody 2 years of age and older, including US citizens, is subject to the testing.

It also extended to individuals making connections through the US on their way to other locations after departing from China via a third nation. Anyone who tests positive more than 10 days prior to takeoff may substitute a positive test result for proof 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” campaign in early December in response to rare public protests over a program that forced millions of people into 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 been hesitant to divulge information regarding the number of illnesses and fatalities.

At a time when ties between the US and China are tense, the US decided to ease the limitations. 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 disclosed US intelligence data that raise fear Beijing is mulling sending Moscow armaments for its continuing assault on Ukraine.

Beijing and Washington are on the verge of “conflict and confrontation,” the Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang warned earlier on Tuesday. If the US doesn’t alter course, Beijing and Washington will be in conflict.

After Xi made an unusually direct speech in which he claimed that “Western nations led by the United States have executed all-round containment, encirclement, and oppression of China,” Qin made his remarks the following day.

Officials in the White House made an effort to downplay Beijing’s venomous tone.

According to White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, “there is no change to the United States’ approach when it comes to this bilateral relationship. The president is of the opinion that while these tensions must undoubtedly be acknowledged, they may be resolved.

Written by Muhammad Qasim