US Seeks Negative COVID-19 Test Result For Travelers From China: CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC said it plans to implement a negative COVID-19 test and documentation of recovery requirement from air passengers from the People’s Republic of China, special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau to enter into the United States.

In a statement, CDC said, “These data are critical to monitor the case surge effectively and decrease the chance for entry of a novel variant of concern.”

Starting at 12:01 AM ET on January 5, all air passengers two years and older will be required to get a COVID-19 test not more than 2 days before their departure from China, Hong Kong, or Macau, regardless of nationality and vaccination status. They can show a negative test result to the airline upon departure.

Persons traveling from China through third-country transit and passengers connecting through the U.S. onward to further destinations are also required to show a negative test result.

The proposed test could include a PCR test, or an antigen self-test administered and monitored by a telehealth service or a licensed provider and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or the relevant national authority.

Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before the flight can provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in lieu of a negative test result.

Airlines are urged to confirm the negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board or deny boarding to the passenger.

According to the agency, the move would help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. during the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases in China as there is a lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data available from that country.

Though variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, China records reduced testing and case reporting. There is concern that minimal sharing of viral genomic sequence data by China could delay the identification of new variants of concern if they arise.

CDC said it will continue to monitor the situation and adjust its approach as necessary.

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