China to require negative COVID-19 test for US visitors

China announced Friday that it will require travelers taking direct flights to the country from the U.S. to test negative for the coronavirus within 3 days of their trip.

China’s embassy in the U.S. said in a statement that those traveling to China from the U.S. and any passenger transiting from a country that Beijing has designated as requiring the screening must provide negative results from a COVID-19 nucleic-acid test conducted within 72 hours of boarding a flight at their last layover destination. The rules will take effect on Sept. 15.

Passengers who travel from the U.S. or transit through the country before flying to China will be required to provide their airline with a health declaration or hold a green health code.

The new mandate is the latest requirement China has slapped on travelers amid concerns over the high number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and tanking relations between Beijing and Washington.

Beijing announced in June it was barring U.S. flights from restarting service to China amid a spike in COVID-19 cases at the time, sparking warnings from Washington that it could suspend passenger flights to the U.S. by Chinese carriers. China ultimately relaxed its ban and allowed U.S. airlines to operate one flight a week to China each, but the Trump administration responded by only allowing two flights a week from Chinese airlines. 

President Trump has also touted his January order temporarily barring entry to foreign nationals who had visited China unless they were immediately related to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The U.S. by far has reported the most coronavirus cases and deaths of any country, with the case count surging to over 6.2 million and the death toll standing at nearly 188,000.

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