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U.S. to require negative COVID tests for travelers from China

Vacationers from China might want to take a look at detrimental for COVID-19 earlier than flying to the U.S. beginning Jan. 5, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention introduced Wednesday.  

The transfer comes because the Chinese language authorities has begun to ease travel restrictions that have been imposed years in the past early in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of a renewed wave of circumstances because it relaxed its “zero COVID” policy.

Beginning this weekend, Japan says it plans to start requiring a detrimental COVID-19 take a look at for guests from China. Malaysia has additionally “introduced new monitoring and surveillance measures,” U.S. officers mentioned.

“The U.S. is following the science and recommendation of public well being consultants, consulting with companions, and contemplating taking comparable steps we will take to guard the American individuals,” the officers mentioned in a press release.

Federal well being authorities haven’t required detrimental COVID-19 checks from any worldwide guests for the reason that requirement was scrapped in June. The U.S. continues to require that overseas vacationers show they’re absolutely vaccinated with the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Passengers touring to the U.S. by Incheon Worldwide Airport, Toronto Pearson Worldwide Airport, and Vancouver Worldwide Airport can even need to detrimental if they’ve been in China within the final 10 days.

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention does conduct voluntary checks collected at a handful of main airports to attempt to monitor for COVID variants amongst arriving worldwide vacationers. Federal well being officers mentioned Wednesday that they deliberate to develop this system to worldwide vacationers touchdown in Los Angeles and Seattle.

Spokespeople for the CDC and Division of Well being and Human Providers declined to touch upon the potential of new measures.

In response to Japan’s determination to impose the brand new restrictions, a Chinese language overseas ministry spokesperson known as Tuesday for a “science-based response strategy and joint effort” for protected journey. 

“We have all the time believed that for all nations, COVID response measures have to be science-based and proportionate with out affecting regular people-to-people change,” China’s Wang Wenbin told reporters.

Concern over COVID variants

Scientists have voiced frustration over sparse variant sequencing launched from China amid the nation’s present wave of infections, except for a handful of vacationers. 

Of their assertion, Biden officers echoed these issues over the shortage of “viral genomic sequence knowledge” from China, saying they’re in talks with different nations over steps to “determine any potential variants of concern.”

“With out this knowledge, it’s turning into more and more tough for public well being officers to make sure that they are going to have the ability to determine any potential new variants and take immediate measures to scale back the unfold,” they mentioned.

The entire present variants circulating in China are descendants of Omicron, Chinese language state media have reported, quoting their nation’s well being officers, with BA.5.2 and BF.7 dominating infections within the nation. 

First noticed earlier this 12 months, these two strains have made up a fraction of circulating virus within the U.S. so far. As an alternative, the CDC’s estimates rank the BQ.1, BQ.1.1, and XBB strains as far outpacing them across the nation.

Infections linked to XBB has surged throughout the Northeast in current weeks, climbing to greater than half of latest infections throughout the area. Forward of Christmas, federal knowledge reveals hospitalizations reaching among the highest charges since final February.

Scientists suspect a descendant dubbed XBB.1.5 is behind the renewed surge, with mutations that would provide a development charge “head and shoulders” above all different strains. 

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