February 7, 2023

US requires negative Covid tests for travelers from China

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau must present negative Covid-19 tests before entering the United States, a move it says is intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus. This requirement takes effect on January 5.

The announcement, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came amid growing concern about a surge in cases in China and the country’s lack of transparency about the outbreak there.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials said the testing requirement will apply to air passengers regardless of their nationality and vaccination status. It will also apply to travelers from China entering the United States via a third country, and those connecting through the United States to other destinations.

The Covid outbreak in China has worsened in recent days, local governments reported Hundreds of thousands of infections per day. Videos obtained by The New York Times appear Sick patients crowd the hospital corridors. But it is difficult to track the situation in real time because China Reliable Covid data is not released.

After three years of insisting on the “zero covid” policy, China has achieved sudden coup In early December he lifted that policy, after mass protests against a shutdown threatened the ruling Communist Party. Since then, there has been an explosion in the number of cases in Beijing.

scholars in Hong Kong You mentioned that sub omicron Known as BF.7 was responsible for the Beijing outbreak. This variant is a subspecies of BA.5, which until recently was the dominant one in the United States. But the BF.7, while it’s been around in the US for several months, doesn’t show signs of competing with other versions from Omicron here.

The CDC estimated that BF.7 made up 4 percent of cases in late December, and that it has become less common since November. Other sub-Omicron variants that scientists think may be more adept at evading existing immune responses are currently prevalent in the United States.

Scientists have said in recent days that, for now at least, the variant fueling the outbreak in China may not necessarily be the most effective at staving off immune responses. Since very few people in China have previously been infected with versions of Omicron, any of the highly contagious Omicron variants that have been circulating around the world recently could get off there.

In a society like China with very little current immunity from infection, the dominant variant may not necessarily be the best at circumventing immune responses, but simply the kind that just happens to catch fire, they said.

“In a sense, it’s likely that whatever was released first would be dominant there,” said James Wood, an infectious disease expert at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.