The administration of US President Joe Biden is considering new precautionary measures for travelers entering the US from China, citing US officials, The Wall Street Journal reports.
U.S. officials declined to elaborate on what policies the administration is considering, but pointed to Japan and Malaysia as potential models for the measures that could be taken, U.S. officials said.
"The United States is following the scientific evidence and advice of health experts, consulting with partners, and considering similar steps we can take to protect the American people," one US official said.
It comes as air ticket sales from China surged following Beijing's decision to open its borders to international travel for the first time in almost three years. Chinese living abroad have also started planning trips to China for family reunions for the Lunar New Year. Tuesday morning ticket sales more than quadrupled from the previous day, according to Trip.com Group.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday that the country will require a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival for travelers from China because of the rapid spread of the virus there. The Japanese government also plans to limit the increase in the number of flights to China invited by airlines.
Italy previously introduced a rule similar to Japan's for visitors to Malpensa airport in the fashion capital of Milan, while passengers flying to India must show a negative test result before boarding. South Korea has added China to its list of "targeted inspection" countries, requiring travelers to be tested for COVID if their temperature exceeds 37.3 degrees Celsius.
China decided on December 26 to lift quarantine for all arrivals, including Chinese nationals returning home, and to lift most testing requirements from January 8.
The mixed feelings about visitors from China show how Beijing's sudden lifting of coronavirus measures has created new and unwanted risks for much of the world that has long since decided to live with the virus.
At the same time, Chinese tourists are the world's largest source of income from tourism, which, according to the United Nations, spent an average of about 250 billion dollars a year five years before the pandemic.