The Biden administration announced new restrictions on inbound travelers from China Wednesday.
Starting Jan. 5, all travelers from China above the age of 2 will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of departure, The Associated Press reported. U.S. health officials say the move is aimed at stemming a rebound of COVID-19 cases after China eased its lockdown policies over the past weeks, with cases surging across the country.
“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,” officials told CNN earlier Wednesday before the final policy became known, using the acronym for China’s formal name. “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.”
“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 added, according to CNN. (RELATED: In 2.5-Hour Conversation With China’s Xi, Biden Mentions COVID Origins And Fentanyl Zero Times)
Other countries have also imposed similar requirements on Chinese travelers, including Japan, India, South Korea and Taiwan, according to the AP.
China eased major restrictions on internal mobility and removed city officials’ power to lock down whole districts earlier in December following a wave of demonstrations across the country calling for freedom from the draconian anti-epidemic policies.
Although officially only seven deaths have been attributed to the virus, recent reports and videos depicting hearses crowding the streets and funeral homes overflowing with body bags suggest the official count is much higher. Hospital staff have reported being overworked and receiving little warning of the easing restrictions, leaving hospitals severely underequipped with treatments and facilities to care for the massive influx of patients.
China further lifted COVID-related international travel restrictions, including testing requirements for inbound travelers on arrival and international flight capacity restrictions, on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.
Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job. https://t.co/nQ5aLVrpyb
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 18, 2020
Former President Donald Trump shut down incoming travel from China in the early days of the pandemic after it was traced to an outbreak in Wuhan, China, a move some, including then presidential candidate Joe Biden, condemned as “fear-mongering” and “xenophobic.” Biden lifted the ban in November 2021 but still required foreign nationals to show proof of full vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.
The Chinese Embassy and foreign ministry did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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