On Friday March 10th, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lifted the mandatory Covid-19 testing requirement for travelers arriving from China. The CDC announced that it would continue to monitor cases in China and around the world.
The decision is effective for flights departing to the United States from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and designated airports beginning on March 10th at 15:00 US Eastern Time, announced the CDC.
The designated airports include Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Republic of Korea; Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada; and Vancouver International Airport in Canada, the CDC added. In practice the change means that passengers traveling from China are no longer required have to show a negative Covid-19 test or recovery certificate before boarding US-bound aircraft.
According to Reuters, the CDC was aware that “there was a large wave of infections in [China] and there was a lack of transparency by the PRC, meaning we had little information about the size of the surge or the variants that were circulating within”.
The Genomic Sequencing Program, which asks travelers to volunteer in order to detect the development of new variants at an early stage at selected airports, will go on as before. The program will continue to monitor flights from China and regional transportation hubs. The same applies to flights from more than 30 other countries.
In January of 2023, the US began requiring air passengers ages 2 years and older to get a negative Covid test result no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macao. On Wednesday March 8th, the CDC stated that “the public health measure was put in place to protect US citizens and communities as we worked to both identify the size of the (China Covid) surge and gain better insights into the variants that were circulating,” as reported by Reuters.