January 29, 2023

The United States is considering new procedures for travelers from China

For more than two years, foreign travelers have had to quarantine upon arrival in China due to Covid restrictions. Pictured here at Beijing International Airport on June 18, 2022, passengers await to be taken to designated quarantine destinations.

Leo Ramirez | Afp | Getty Images

The US government is considering imposing new Covid rules for travelers from China, officials said, citing concerns about virus-related data released by the Chinese government.

“There are growing concerns in the international community about the continued increases in COVID-19 in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genetic sequence data, being reported from the People’s Republic of China,” officials said in a statement late Tuesday.

“Without this data, it is becoming increasingly difficult for public health officials to ensure that they will be able to identify any potential new variants and take immediate measures to limit the spread,” the officials said.

Japanese officials pointed out recent measures requiring a negative Covid test for travelers arriving from mainland China from December 30 – as China faces a nationwide spike in infections after a sudden reopening.

Japan’s health ministry added that travelers from China who do not have a valid vaccination certificate will also be required to take a pre-departure test. The notice said the measures would not apply to travelers from Hong Kong and Macau.

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When asked to comment on Japan’s actions, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed the need for “science-based” measures, without elaborating.

“The current coronavirus situation in the world still calls for a science-based response approach and joint efforts to ensure safe cross-border travel, maintain stability of global manufacturing and supply chains, and restore global economic growth,” said Deputy Director-General Wang Wenbin. to reporters in a Briefing on Tuesday.

US officials stated that Malaysia is also taking action while India and the World Health Organization have expressed concern about the situation in China.

“The United States is following the science and advice of public health experts, consulting with partners, and considering similar steps we can take to protect the American people,” the officials said.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.