U.S. weighs new COVID rules for travelers from China, U.S. officials say

December 28, 2022 - 9:38 AM
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Medical workers attend to patients at the intensive care unit of the emergency department at Beijing Chaoyang hospital, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China December 27, 2022. (China Daily via REUTERS)

The U.S. government may impose new COVID-19 measures on travelers to the United States from China over concerns about the “lack of transparent data” coming from Beijing, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The move comes after Japan, India and Malaysia announced stepped-up rules on travelers from China in the last 24 hours, citing a rise in infections there.

Japan has said it would require a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival for travelers from China. Malaysia put in place additional tracking and surveillance measures.

“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, using the initials of the People’s Republic of China.

Some hospitals and funeral homes in China have been overwhelmed as the virus spreads largely unchecked across the country of 1.4 billion people.

Official statistics, however, showed only one COVID death in the seven days to Monday, fueling doubts among health experts and residents about the government’s data. The numbers are inconsistent with the experience of much less populous countries after they re-opened.

China said on Monday it would stop requiring inbound travelers to go into quarantine starting from Jan. 8 in a major step towards easing curbs on its borders, which have been largely shut since 2020.—Reporting by Steve Holland, writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Lincoln Feast.