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Travelers to the United States from China, Hong Kong and Macau will soon be required to show a negative test for COVID-19 before boarding flights to the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. The requirement, which takes effect starting Jan. 5, is intended to help prevent a new variant of the coronavirus from entering the United States as China experiences a surge in COVID cases.
“Pre-departure testing and the requirement to show a negative test result has been shown to reduce the number of infected passengers boarding flights and will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to identify and understand any new variants that may emerge up,” the CDC said in a release.
Starting at. 12:01 a.m. ET on January 5, passengers ages 2 and up must get a test no more than two days before departure. The rule applies to passengers regardless of nationality and vaccination status. Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before their flight can show proof of recovery from COVID in lieu of a negative test result.
The restriction applies to direct flights to the United States. It also applies to passengers flying to the US from Incheon International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport, if they have been in the People’s Republic of China in the last 10 days no more than 2 days before departure to the States.
“These three transit hubs cover the overwhelming majority of passengers with journeys originating in China and the Special Administrative Regions,” the CDC said, referring to Hong Kong and Macau.
In early December, China eased its “zero COVID” restrictions in response to mass protests in the country. Since then, a wave of cases in China has been accompanied by reports of hospital corridors full of sick patients, more medical staff working while sick, and a lack of transparency about the outbreak.
“Reduced testing and case reporting in China and minimal sharing of viral genomic sequence data may delay the identification of new variants of concern if they arise,” the CDC said in its release.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.