U.S. to end Covid test requirements for travelers from China

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed it plans to end mandatory Covid-19 tests for travelers from China, joining other countries in eliminating the requirements. The CDC imposed the testing requirements in early January. Australian and South Korean officials also said the testing requirement was dropped on March 11. Japan and Italy's Lombardy region had already earlier dropped the requirement. Most European countries will follow before the end of the month.

China's total Covid-19 vaccine expenses nationwide were more than CNY150 billion in 2021-22, the National Healthcare Security Administration said. The health insurance fund paid PCR testing expenses of CNY4.3 billion in 2022, the Administration added.

As influenza cases have been rising recently in China, experts said the surge is attributed to the low circulation of the virus during the Covid-19 epidemic and the resulting low level of immunity among the population. From February 20 to 26, the country reported 390 flu outbreaks caused by two influenza A strains known as H1N1 and H3N2, up from 108 recorded during the previous seven-day period, according to a flu surveillance update published by the Chinese CDC. The flu positivity rate nationwide rose to 23.9% during the period, compared with 7.8% during the previous week. Covid-19 control measures had also suppressed the spread of the flu virus in the past three years. With optimization of Covid-19 response measures and increasing mobility and gatherings, the flu virus has spread more easily.

The Foreign Ministry has once again urged the U.S. to stop political manipulation of Covid-19 origins tracing, and respond to the legitimate concerns of the international community as soon as possible. The U.S. should take the initiative to share with the World Health Organization (WHO) the data of suspected cases in the early stages in the U.S. and release the relevant information of the Fort Detrick lab and other bio-laboratories around the world, Spokesperson Mao Ning noted. She added that China has always actively supported and participated in global scientific origins tracing, and China firmly opposes any form of political manipulation. “China has shared the most data and research results on the Covid-19 origins tracing, and contributed the most on origins tracing research globally,” Mao said.