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US tightens COVID restricts for Chinese travellers, will require negative test

Picture Courtesy: Reuters

The United States will require all travellers from China to show a negative Covid-19 test result before flying to the country as Beijing’s rapid easing of Covid-19 restrictions leads to a surge in cases. Tighter measures have also been brought in by Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and India.

Passengers flying to the US from China will need to get a test no more than two days before flying, federal health officials said, and present proof of the negative test to their airline before boarding. The requirement will apply both to passengers flying directly to the United States from China as well to passengers flying through popular third-country gateways, including Seoul, Toronto and Vancouver.

The new rules take effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on January 5. Earlier, Wang Wenbin, China's foreign minister spokesman, accused Western countries and media of "hyping up" and "distorting China's Covid policy adjustments”. Mr Wang called for "joint efforts to ensure safe cross-border travel, maintain stability of global industrial supply chains and promote economic recovery and growth”.

Other countries are also adding restrictions for Chinese travellers. In India, people travelling from China and four other Asian countries must produce a negative Covid test before arriving. In Japan, from Friday all travellers from China and those who visited it within seven days will be tested for Covid upon arrival, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. Malaysia has also put additional tracking and surveillance measures in place.

Last week, Beijing reported about 4,000 new Covid infections each day and few deaths. Despite the rise in infections, China has continued its programme of loosening its strict Covid measures.

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