(USNewsMag) – After China announced that they are loosening their extreme “zero COVID” policy, the Biden administration announced that it will be requiring travelers from China to have a negative COVID test result in order to fly into the United States. This new regulation will apply to all travelers over the age of two.
In the early days of the pandemic, Donald Trump was accused of being xenophobic because he called for travel restrictions on China in order to slow the spread.
The CDC expects rapid transmission to occur in China due to the isolation the population has been subject to since the outbreak in Wuhan and the resulting lack of immunity.
In a call with reporters, CDC officials expressed concern over China’s decision to loosen their restrictions amid a current spike in cases and considering the “lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported” by China. In order to monitor for new strains, the traveler-based Genomic Surveillance Program in which random international travelers provide a nasal swab will be expanded to airports in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.
China’s decision to suddenly end its authoritarian policies may have been prompted by an ongoing economic slump. The Lunar New Year is generally one of the busiest travel times, so freeing the population to travel more easily during the holiday celebrations may be an attempt to liven the economy.
Along with an easing of restrictions, China has changed the definition of a COVID death, vastly reducing the number of deaths that would qualify.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan in 2020, Lunar New Year celebrations were canceled in an attempt to prevent any further spread of the then-unknown virus. This upcoming year will mark the first time since 2019 that many Chinese citizens will be able to celebrate this important holiday.
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