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Examining the impact of the CDC’s new COVID travel policy from China

The United States will now require all travelers coming from China to submit a negative covet test beginning January 5th Health officials have raised concerns about China Under reporting coronav Isis coronavirus cases Japan and India have also announced new measures to limit the number of Chinese Travelers entering.

Their countries to prevent the spread of covid-19 for more I’m joined by date Kang a reporter for the Associated Press thanks for joining us thanks so much for having me all right so you you’ve been in China covering the country’s response to the covid-19 pandemic what is causing this huge uptick in cases there.

Yeah I mean basically you know for the past three years uh China had a very strict uh set of policies aimed at uh basically completely curbing the spread of the virus so that was called the zero code policy but basically in uh late November early December the authorities uh suddenly pivoted and uh basically relaxed all of those measures.

Essentially scrapping um all the measures that they use to control the spread of the virus and as you know the virus is very infectious um so the movement they release those controls the virus disturbance spreading everywhere and people um you know for for years I I didn’t know anyone in China who had covid and.

It seems like almost overnight uh half the people I knew were getting sick yeah were you surprised based on your knowledge of how things work there by the fact that the government loosened those restrictions sort of bowing to pressure yeah I think it was clear that there was some discussion about you know.

The need for China to be exiting its zero covet policy I mean it was really improving economically and socially unsustainable uh the economic damage this policy was causing was it was really quite tremendous um you know a factory shutting down entire cities getting locked down for weeks or even months on end.

Um people were getting quite frustrated and upset and there was quite a lot of talk of you know immigration and obviously there were um you know unprecedented protests um in in November um but I don’t think anyone quite anticipated that uh you know the the pace of the policy change would quite be.

This this fast um you know before November I think many people were thinking that these policies would stay in place for for another year maybe or even longer um obviously when the pandemic began Chinese government officials were criticized by much of the world for a.

Lack of transparency which a lot of people believe led to the the spread across the globe of covid-19 and so now are U.S officials and Chinese officials communicating more than they have in the past that is a really great question and one I would also love to know the answer to.

You know the thing is uh us and Chinese officials actually have always uh been in a fair amount of amount of communication on the kind of scientific and public health matters I mean the US and China uh have a very strong partnership on public health uh dating back to you know when relations would were better uh obviously uh these days.

You know it’s it’s quite a different story um relations are are obviously very poor um but I imagine that there is uh quite a bit of uh communication specifically on cobit yes I’m wondering based on the spread that you’re seeing now uh it is the spread more rapid than it was at the beginning of the pandemic or.

Is that hard to tell at this point oh absolutely I mean you know we all know Omicron is is uh you know the most infectious variant of of covet that has occurred so far and the thing about covet at the beginning you know way back in Milan I was actually in Wuhan um at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. um but that was really contained largely.

To Wuhan and uh you know the lockdown and the other harsh measures the government took were were largely limited to that region of the country um but what’s different now is the entire country is getting infected seemingly overnight I mean we’re talking everywhere from you know um you know Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the country.

South to Beijing um where I’m based um just the entire country it feels like has been getting infected uh see me seemingly overnight that is unfortunate day King Day King with the Associated Press thank you very much for your time thanks for having me really appreciate.

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