COVID-19 travel restrictions between China and the U.S. could be loosened by the end of the week, as cases of the virus in the communist country are on the decline, according to reports.
The Washington Post reported that a trio of officials spoke with the newspaper about the plan on anonymity, saying health and national security officials agreed to relax the testing requirements this week.
The decision was described as more about health than foreign policy. It also comes as other countries with similar coronavirus restrictions are lightening up on the rules.
In late December, the Biden administration announced a new COVID-19 testing policy for travelers coming from China, just as the communist government rolled back its own strict COVID policies.
The new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) order in the U.S., effective on Jan 5, required any traveler over the age of 2, coming from China, either directly or indirectly, as well as Hong Kong and Macau, to obtain a negative COVID-19 test no more than two days before traveling to the U.S.
The CDC said at the time of the announcement that the new restrictions were being imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. due to a surge in China and “given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported.”
When China rolled back its “zero COVID” policies, federal health officials told reporters, there was a significant increase in cases.
A week after the policy went into effect, Chinese officials acknowledged the COVID-19 death toll was on the rise, updating a former official death count of 47 to about 60,000.
Last week, Japan eased its coronavirus border measures for tourists from China, choosing to test random passengers.
Since December, Japan was testing all travelers from China at four designated airports on grounds of surging infections in the country and a lack of information.
White House officials did not immediately respond to inquiries about the policy changes.
The Post said U.S. officials confirmed their reassurance over the past few weeks by indications of deaths and infections.
Adam Shaw of Fox News contributed to this report.