According to a report, the US will relax COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers coming from China as soon as Friday.
US officials stated that the decision to lift negative COVID-test requirements was made because of declining cases of the virus in China, driven by public health priorities and not foreign policy concerns.
The new rule was reportedly finalized Tuesday, but national security and health officials will notify US airlines, Chinese diplomats, and others before publicly announcing the change.
In January, the US and several other countries implemented negative test requirements for air travellers from China older than 2 amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the communist nation after Beijing abandoned its stringent zero-COVID policies.
The US also hoped the testing rule would pressure the Chinese government to be more transparent with its COVID-19 data after releasing implausible numbers of cases and deaths.
US officials acknowledge that China is still likely undercounting deaths and cases but believe the data indicates a decline in infections.
According to Reuters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue its voluntary genomic sequencing program at airports for travellers from China.
Tensions between China and the US have been elevated since last month’s spy balloon incident.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping accuses the US of leading “containment, encirclement, and suppression” efforts against the communist power.
Feathers have also been ruffled in Beijing over reports that top US agencies have concluded that COVID-19 originated from a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan researching bat coronaviruses.
Chinese officials have denied the so-called “lab leak theory,” blasting it as defamatory.»US to relax COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers coming from China«