The CDC announced Wednesday that starting January 5 at 12:01 a.m. ET, all passengers arriving from China who are at least 2 years old will be required to provide a negative PCR covid test result no more than 2 days before their departure from Macau, Hong Kong, or China. The CDC cited slowing the spread of Covid in the US as the reason for the policy change.
There are concerns that the US cannot trust the results of Chinese-administered tests and, therefore, should follow in Italy's footsteps and test passengers upon their arrival in the country. Italian authorities began testing anyone arriving from China after almost half of the passengers on two separate flights that arrived in Milan were positive for Covid.
According to German Health Ministry spokesman Sebastian Guelde, Germany is also "closely watching" China's Covid situation.
On December 26, China's National Health Commission announced that it would end all quarantine requirements for arrivals into the country on January 8, 2023.
Currently, anyone entering China has to quarantine for 5 days in an approved facility, followed by 3 days of quarantine at home. In the future, once the quarantine is lifted, travelers will only need to obtain a negative PCR test within 48 hours of departure. China's health agency also removed the limitations it had placed on international flights to and from China.
With China opening back up and allowing citizens to travel abroad more easily, the demand for international visas has skyrocketed, with Chinese travel site Tongcheng Travel showing that searches for international flights have increased by 850 percent.
Among the most searched destinations are the United States, Malaysia, Australia, the UK, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.
According to virologist Sean Li, China opening its borders so Covid can spread internationally is a deliberate act. "When they can't control the outbreak, they push it to the whole world. Just like when COVID first broke out in Wuhan, people who had been infected in Wuhan were allowed to travel around the world. The strategy is the same now as before," said Li. The virologist was also critical of China's consistent lack of transparency regarding the pandemic saying, "The CCP is not sharing data, and the international community doesn't know how many different virus variants are spreading in China and whether there are other compound infections."
Meanwhile, in Italy, the Health Ministry is sequencing the tests from the Milan flights to determine if there is a new variant. According to a statement from the Health Ministry, "We have no indication that a more dangerous mutation has developed in China that would give rise to a declaration of a virus variant area, which would result in corresponding travel restrictions."
Subscribe to our evening newsletter to stay informed during these challenging times!!