STORY: U.S. health officials on Wednesday announced new, mandatory COVID-19 tests on travelers arriving from China.
The measure follows similar requirements imposed by India, Italy, Japan and Taiwan after Beijing lifted its stringent zero-COVID policies, and as cases of the illness spike across China.
Officials said that beginning Jan 5th, all air passengers 2 years old and older will require a negative result from a test no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong or Macao.
Federal officials added that passengers who test positive more than 10 days before a flight can provide documentation of recovery in lieu of the negative test result.
In an abrupt change of policy, China this month began dismantling the world's strictest COVID regime - including lockdowns and extensive testing - a relaxing of rules that put its battered economy on course for a complete re-opening next year.
The lifting of restrictions, which followed widespread anti-lockdown protests, means COVID is now spreading largely unchecked and likely infecting millions of people a day, according to some international health experts.
China has struggled to vaccinate its elderly population and has yet to authorize foreign mRNA vaccines.
The country currently has nine domestically-developed COVID vaccines approved for use, but none has been updated to target the highly infectious Omicron variant.