U.S. would require airline passengers touring from China to check unfavorable for Covid

Vacationers verify in at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Worldwide Airport in on Dec. 12, 2022, after China relaxed home journey restrictions.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Photographs

The Biden administration would require airline passengers touring from China to check unfavorable for Covid earlier than coming into the U.S. as concern grows that widespread transmission of the virus on the planet’s most populous nation might lead to new variants.

All airline passengers 2 years and older originating from China, Hong Kong or Macau can be required to get examined for Covid-19 not more than two days earlier than their flight to the U.S. and present a unfavorable end result to the airline upon departure, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention introduced on Wednesday.

The necessities, which apply no matter nationality and vaccination standing, begin Jan. 5. Vacationers can get a PCR take a look at or a fast self take a look at that’s administered and monitored by a telehealth service. The fast take a look at have to be licensed by the Meals and Drug Administration or the related nationwide authority.

Airline passengers flying by means of Incheon Worldwide Airport in South Korea in addition to Toronto Pearson and Vancouver Worldwide Airports in Canada can even want to check unfavorable for Covid earlier than heading to the U.S. in the event that they have been in China 10 days beforehand.

These three airports cowl the overwhelming majority of vacationers whose journeys originated in China however have connecting flights to the U.S., in keeping with the CDC.

The testing necessities come as Beijing battles a significant outbreak of the virus after easing its stringent zero-Covid coverage within the wake of social unrest earlier this yr.

The U.S. has restricted data on the scenario on the bottom in China, a federal well being official informed reporters on a name Wednesday. Testing has decreased throughout China and it is unclear what variants are circulating on the mainland as a result of genomic surveillance knowledge can be restricted, the official mentioned.

“The current fast enhance in transmission in China will increase the potential for brand new variants rising,” the well being official mentioned. The U.S. is taking proactive steps to guard the general public’s well being and be on the alert for brand new Covid variants because the scenario in China unfolds, in keeping with the official.

The CDC is increasing its program that screens worldwide vacationers for brand new Covid variants to incorporate airports in Los Angeles and Seattle. The surveillance program will now embody seven airports and canopy about 500 weekly flights, together with 290 flights from China and the encircling area.

The surveillance program collects nasal swabs from worldwide vacationers on a voluntary foundation, and the CDC then analyzes the samples that take a look at constructive for Covid to find out if they’re a brand new virus variant.

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