Washington, Dec 28 (EFE).- The US government announced Wednesday that it will ask travelers coming from China to show a negative Covid-19 test before entering the country starting on Jan. 5.
With the new policy, travelers with their final destination in the United States will have to test negative for Covid-19 two days prior to their departure from continental China, Macao or Hong Kong, and to present that result to airport authorities before they board their flights to the US.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all travelers over age 2, without regard for their nationality, will be subject to the new health requirement.
“These data are critical to monitor the case surge effectively and decrease the chance for entry of a novel variant of concern,” the CDC said in a statement on Wednesday.
A number of scientists in the US have concerns that the new, ongoing and massive Covid-19 outbreak in China could result in new variants of the virus emerging, since every infection constitutes another chance for the virus to mutate, possibly into a strain that cannot be effectively dealt with by the currently available vaccines.
In addition, the US government is concerned that Beijing’s new relaxation of its “zero Covid” lockdown policy, which had sparked widespread discontent among China’s population, will lead to a huge increase in the number of coronavirus cases there.
Other countries like Italy, Japan, India and South Korea already have adopted similar measures for travelers coming from China, that is requiring them to show a negative Covid test before they may enter those countries.
The announcements come just before the Lunar New Year vacation in China, which in 2023 will fall between Jan. 21-27 and during which millions of people travel to visit loved ones or take short vacations.
The United States restricted the entry of various groups of international passengers after the start of the pandemic, but it lifted the last restrictions in June. At present, China is the only country to fall under any US Covid-19 restrictions.