BALTIMORE — Beginning Thursday, travelers from China will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering the United States—regardless of their vaccination status.
The CDC says it announced this new requirement to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States as China continues to grapple with a surge in COVID cases.
Right now, the Asian country’s hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19.
Infections there have surged since China dropped its pandemic restrictions last month following three years of strict COVID restrictions and a slew of new protests in response to them.
And now, as the new year begins, there is growing concern about the surge in cases in China and what that could mean for U.S. residents.
Health experts say they are concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding pandemic-related data.
“For the most part, we really don’t know what variants are circulating in China,” Dr. Andy Pekosz, a virologist at Johns Hopkins, said. “That represents sort of a black box in terms of what we might be concerned about in terms of new variants in that country.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the lack of transparency from China could delay the identification of new variants that pose a threat to public health.
As a result, the United States will join the growing list of countries that require travelers from China to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country.
Pekosz doesn’t believe testing alone will be enough to stop a new variant from coming to the United States.
“What you really need is a holistic approach. You need to know the sequences of the viruses that are there,” Pekosz siad. “You need to know case numbers and hospitalization rates and how they are related to new variants. All of that information helps us to then prepare for a new variant if it were to arrive. Testing alone isn’t going to prevent a new variant from arriving here in the U.S.”
Now is a great time to take any measures necessary to protect yourself from a new COVID variant, Pekosz said.
Thanks for reading CBS NEWS.
Create your free account or log in
for more features.