The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that travelers, coming from China, Hong Kong, and Macau, must present negative coronavirus tests before being allowed to enter the United States.
In announcing the move, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the change in policy is intended to slow the spread of the virus, which is surging in China.
The new requirement will take effect on January 5, 2023, which will allow time for airlines and travel companies to make adjustments to their computer software.
“It does take some effort by the airlines to update their data systems to put this all in place,” a federal health official said at a news briefing earlier on Wednesday. “And so we have to make this announcement today, but it will take time to implement the program,” he added.
The policy will apply to all passengers arriving by air, regardless of nationality and vaccination status. It will also apply to travelers who enter the United States via a third country and to those who connect through the United States, from China, Hong Kong, or Macau, to another destination.
The policy that mandates that all visitors to the United States be fully vaccinated remains in effect.
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