US confirms no COVID-19 tests for Chinese arrivals
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Wednesday it plans to end mandatory COVID-19 tests for travelers from China, joining other countries in eliminating the requirements.
The CDC plans to drop the testing requirements imposed in early January on Friday, Reuters and other outlets reported on Tuesday.
The CDC said it will continue to monitor cases in China and around the world.
The US is the latest country to announce the lifting of COVID-19 test requirements for travelers from China. On Thursday morning, Australia's health minister said the country will drop the requirement for travelers arriving from China to test for COVID-19 before departure from Saturday.
South Korea will also drop a requirement for pre-departure COVID-19 test for travelers from China starting from Saturday, in its latest step to ease border controls.
Last week, Japan dropped a requirement that everyone take a test for the coronavirus upon arrival from China.
Starting on Wednesday, Italy's Lombardy region no longer requires people arriving from China by plane to be tested for COVID-19 infections, ending a policy that lasted for two months, Guido Bertolaso, Lombardy's welfare counselor announced on Tuesday.
Other European Union countries have agreed to phase out COVID-19 restrictions on travellers from China, according to Reuters on February 17.
The US in early January joined other countries in taking new measures after Beijing's decision to lift its stringent zero-COVID policies. It required air passengers aged 2 years and older to get a negative COVID test result no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macau.
The US CDC said it will continue the genomic sequencing program at select airports that asks travelers to volunteer to help with early detection of new COVID variants.
The Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance Program will monitor flights from China and regional transportation hubs, as well as flights from more than 30 other countries, the CDC said.
Reacting to the Australian move, China said on Thursday that it looks forward to more countries joining it in providing more convenience for the movement of Chinese and foreign people.
"We are looking forward to more countries working with China to do more to facilitate cross-border travel," Mao Ning, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters at a regular press briefing in Beijing.
"China believes that for all countries, COVID-19 response measures need to be science-based and proportionate."