Federal health officials are requiring visitors from China to submit a negative COVID-19 test before entering the United States.
The policy, issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), went into effect on January 5 and requires travelers from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau who are at least two years of age to test negative within two days of arrival. Visitors from South Korea or Canada who were in China 10 days before their flight to America must also present a negative COVID-19 test.
“This public health policy is due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the PRC (People’s Republic of China) and the risk of the emergence of a new viral variant given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from the PRC,” states the advisory on the U.S. State Department website.
Stroll Through Chinatown
This is not the first U.S. attempt to restrict entry from China to protect the country.
In January 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic, the Trump administration tried to bar entry to anyone who had been in China within the past 14 days. Joe Biden, then a candidate for president, criticized the policy.
“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus,” tweeted Biden, on February 1, 2020. “We need to lead the way with science—not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.”
On February 24, 2020, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi walked through Chinatown in San Francisco with no mask, stating publicly there was no reason for fear.
In 2021, the United States required all travelers from abroad to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including U.S. citizens coming home, says Jim Lakely, vice president and director of communications at The Heartland Institute, which co-publishes Health Care News.
“I wonder why the same people who called this sensible policy racist think they can get away with imposing it without an apology to the last administration?” said Lakely. “Just one year ago, I traveled to Scotland and our ruling class required me to test negative for COVID to return home, as an American, to my own country. And now, only now, is there a restriction on admitting Chinese to the United States. And there is still a senseless restriction on people entering the United States if they are not current on the arbitrary vaccine regime of the CDC.”
Little in the government response to the pandemic is logical, says Lakely.
“While the restriction on Chinese visitation to the United States is a sensible policy, absolutely nothing else about the Biden administration’s COVID policies has ever made sense,” said Lakely. “I have little hope actual science and common sense will ever drive it, either, despite this policy.”
The CDC lifted the negative testing requirement for international travelers in June 2022.
AnneMarie Schieber (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the managing editor of Health Care News.
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