(Bloomberg) — The United States will remove screening requirements for travelers from China this week, people familiar with the matter said, an important step toward normalizing relations between the two countries as the outbreak subsides.
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In January, the Biden administration ordered all travelers over the age of 2 to submit a negative test before entering the US after China backtracked on tighter Covid restrictions following a massive outbreak.
The move was initially taken to protect American citizens, he said, so the United States could assess the impact of the outbreak in China and understand the contradictions surrounding it.
China's "Covid Tsunami".
The move comes as the United States has evidence that cases, hospitalizations and deaths in China are declining, he said. The Biden administration will continue to monitor cases in China and other countries and will institute a travel-based genomic surveillance program.
Allies and allies have lifted similar restrictions on inbound flights from China and have been consulted by the United States on public health measures, the people said.
The Washington Post reported on the plan on Tuesday morning.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the public expects the United States to end the conditions, "relevant countries will cooperate with China to facilitate cross-border travel."
open the border
Removing the test requirement would remove one of the last barriers to international travel in the post-Covid era, particularly for business travelers traveling between the world's two largest economies. The move also opens a window for Beijing to respond by relaxing its own pre-flight screening rules for people arriving from the US.
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There are still obstacles to full regulation. China still requires PCR tests for travelers from the US, and airline workers check the results before boarding, although people from some countries can send rapid antigen tests. According to a publication by the Chinese Embassy in the US, the results may be randomly checked after they are received.
Flights between the US and China will also be limited to 12 per week. There were just 172 scheduled flights between the US and China this month, down 94.1% from the same period in 2019, according to aviation data firm Cirium.
In March of the year before the epidemic, American and Chinese airlines operated 2,926 flights with approximately 850,000 seats in both directions.
— with the help of Philip Gelman.
(Update with comments from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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