The US is considering imposing new Covid-19 measures for individuals traveling from China amid concerns over a rise in Covid-19 cases in the country and a “lack of transparent data,” US officials said.
One official said they anticipate a decision about a possible testing requirement could be made “soon.”
“There are mounting concerns in the international community on the ongoing Covid-19 surges in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data, being reported from the PRC,” the officials said. “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 prompt measures to reduce the spread.”
“Public health officials in the US and countries around the world have been discussing their concerns about this and potential steps that can be taken to monitor the case surge effectively and identify any potential variants of concern,” the officials added.
The considerations come as Japan and India have announced Covid-19 measures for travelers from China amid concerns over an uptick in cases. Japan is requiring individuals traveling from China be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival starting December 30. Indian authorities have said travelers from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand will have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test on arrival to India and quarantine if they test positive
“The US is following the science and advice of public health experts, consulting with partners, and considering taking similar steps we can take to protect the American people,” the officials said.
China has started loosening its strict Covid-19 measures after dismantling the country’s long-held zero-Covid policy earlier this month. On Monday, China announced it will end quarantine requirements for international arrivals from January 8, marking a major step toward reopening its borders.
But the sudden end to the China’s stringent health policy has caught many in the country off guard and put strains on the health system as it deals with an increase of infections.
China’s foreign ministry responded Wednesday to reports that the US is considering imposing restrictions on travelers from China, urging parties to work together to ensure the safe movement of people between countries and the stability of the global supply chain.
“We need all parties to work together scientifically against the epidemic to ensure the safe movement of people between countries, maintain the stability of the global industrial chain supply chain and promote the resumption of healthy growth in the world economy,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a briefing.