Additional testing requirements for travelers from China were put in place earlier this week on Wednesday as a response to the country’s recent COVID outbreak.
It’s suspected that the surge in infections was caused by the rollback of China’s extremely strict anti-virus measures, which kept infection rates low.
Prepare for round two
However, public frustration grew at a steady pace; with economic growth stunted due to extreme measures, the people demanded change and as it turns out, they clearly got it.
In China 90% of the people are vaccinated and 100% are wearing masks
China is having the largest Covid outbreak the world has seen
Trust the science
— Jake Shields (@jakeshieldsajj) December 27, 2022
The new requirements, which are set to go into effect on January 5th, apply to all travelers from the country, regardless of their nationality and even vaccination status.
The US Center for Disease Control issued a statement regarding the changes, claiming they were necessary to try and prevent any further spread of the virus throughout this winter.
With a lack of adequate information from Chinese officials, there was nothing more that could be done, especially considering the mutated strains that are circulating in the country.
The testing will provide us with an insight into the infection surge and allow the US to decrease the risk of a novel variant making entry through international transport.
There are already concerns that the outbreak in China will result in yet another mass-scale infection, this time with a new, mutated strain, which is entirely possible if the situation isn’t addressed properly.
The same people who called President Trump xenophobic for banning travel from China at the outbreak of the pandemic, are barring airline passengers flying from China unless they show a negative COVID test before boarding.
— Shukri Abdirahman (@ShuForCongress) December 29, 2022
There’s more to it if you read between the lines
Matthew Binnicker, the clinical virology director at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, believes these measures are necessary if we want to avoid what we experienced with the delta and omicron strains.
However, other scientists in the field are skeptical about the measures. Dr. David Howdy from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health believes the move is just another attempt to squeeze information out of China.
He added he hopes the restrictions will remain in effect only for as long as they’re necessary, seeing as he’s of the opinion they won’t do much to actually stop the spread of the virus.
If we believe covid to be so harmless we cannot be bothered to wear masks indoors, what is the point of requiring travelers from China to test negative?
To avoid new variants? To decrease burden of disease?
Doesn't make sense if we don't invest in widespread prevention efforts. pic.twitter.com/asvNmQUdpJ
— Stella Safo, MD MPH (@AmmahStarr) December 28, 2022
The United States is not alone in this endeavor though. Several other countries have joined the bandwagon, including Japan, which requires a negative COVID-19 test from anyone traveling from China and Malaysia if they wish to enter.
Italy, South Korea, Taiwan, and India also require Chinese visitors to provide a negative test.
The Lunar New Year is right around the corner. The US is bound to experience a massive spike in visitors from China; it’s what makes the move seem completely reasonable at a time like this.
Geoff Freeman, the president of the US Travel Association, assured the country welcomes all Chinese travelers, adding that the soon-to-be-mandatory testing is appreciated.