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China Covid: U.S. Testing Rule Meets a Collective Shrug

China Covid: U.S. Testing Rule Meets a Collective Shrug

Some Chinese were disappointed by the Biden administration’s new testing requirement for travelers coming from their country. Others radiated contempt, calling it the latest Western effort to contain China’s rise. But many were simply indifferent.

For many Chinese, the U.S. rule that they must present negative Covid tests to visit is a tangential development. China is grappling with severe outbreaks that have sickened countless people and overwhelmed hospitals and funeral parlors. Many are focused on trying to hold on to their jobs and homes as the economy sputters.

And to many of those who have been considering travel, an extra Covid test is not a major inconvenience. Such testing had until recently been — for many tens of millions of citizens — a near-daily routine mandated by the authorities. And Chinese tourists know that they’re welcome in a lot of places across Asia and beyond.

“It’s just a Covid test before traveling,” said Li Kuan, 33, a software engineer at a technology start-up in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. “We’ve been doing a bunch of tests like this for the past three years.”

The rule from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced on Wednesday, will require negative tests from anyone, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, who wants to board a U.S.-bound flight in China. It will apply to travelers in Hong Kong and Macau, as well as to anyone coming from China who transits in the United States or enters it through a third country.

The rule will take effect on Jan. 5, three days before China plans to drop the strict quarantine requirements that have been in place for inbound travelers for nearly three years.

People around the world are excited about the potential boon for business and tourism that would accompany a surge in Chinese tourists. But some also worry about how cases have exploded in the country since early December, when China abruptly lifted its “zero Covid” policy after mass protests over lockdowns that threatened the ruling Communist Party.

Officials in the United States fear that the coronavirus will spread rapidly in China, allowing new variants to develop and spread around the world.

On Wednesday, the C.D.C. said that it was requiring a negative Covid test for travelers from China to slow the spread of the virus in the United States. As new variants of the virus emerge around the world, China’s “reduced” testing and case reporting and “minimal” sharing of…

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