The US has become the latest country to impose Covid-19 testing requirements on passengers from China – including Hong Kong and Macau. The move comes as the world’s most populous country is set to lift travel restrictions on January 8 amid a surging virus outbreak.

From January 5, arrivals aged two or above to the US from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, must show a negative Covid-19 test before boarding their flights.

A Covid-19 rapid antigen test. File photo: Brett Jordan, via Flickr.

The test has to be done no more than two days before the passengers’ departure, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday.

Arrivals can either undergo a PCR test, or a rapid antigen test administered and monitored by a telehealth service or a licensed provider.

The US joined Japan, Italy, Malaysia and India in imposing restrictions on arrivals from China.

Japan became one of the first countries to implement travel curbs this week. They include restricting direct flights from Hong Kong to four airports: Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda, Kansai in Osaka and Nagoya’s Chubu.

Italy began requiring all arrivals from China to undergo Covid-19 testing from Wednesday, becoming the first European country to do so. Malaysia also imposed additional tracing measures, while India began requiring Chinese arrivals to undergo tests from last Saturday.

Since scrapping one of the world’s strictest Covid-19 restrictions regimen, China is experiencing an unprecedented wave of infections, with reports of hospitals and crematoriums being overwhelmed.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.