President Joe Biden’s administration just announced that it will soon impose COVID-related travel restrictions on all individuals arriving from or through China after the new year begins, Breitbart reported.
That is a rather stark reversal from just two and a half years ago when then-candidate Biden sharply criticized as “racist” and “xenophobic” similar travel restrictions on China imposed by then-President Donald Trump at the beginning of the pandemic.
New testing requirements for travelers from China
Politico reported Wednesday that, beginning on Jan. 5, all travelers arriving in the U.S. from China will be required to prove that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the prior two days.
That requirement will be applicable to all adults and children older than two years of age, regardless of their nationality, vaccination status, whether their flight originated from or just passed through China, and whether or not the U.S. is their final destination or merely a stopover on the way to another country.
The negative COVID test requirement will also be applied to all travelers arriving from certain airports in South Korea and Canada if those travelers had been in China within the past 10 days.
Targeted restrictions intended to help slow spread of virus
Politico further shared that an unnamed federal health official told reporters, “Predeparture testing and the requirement to show a negative test result decreases the number of infected passengers boarding airplanes and it will help to slow the spread of the virus as we work through identifying and understand any potential new variants that may emerge.”
Another unnamed senior administration official revealed that the new requirements were being imposed in part due to a “lack of adequate transparency” from the Chinese regime in regard to reported significant viral outbreaks in that communist nation after it finally relaxed its oppressive “COVID-zero policy” of strict lockdowns and testing mandates following widespread public unrest and protests.
The outlet noted that it would be up to the airlines themselves to enforce this new testing requirement from the administration. In addition, the administration is also urging all travelers, not just from China, to wear masks at all times, to self-monitor and report any symptoms, and to get tested within three to five days after arriving in the U.S. from any other foreign nation.
“We know these measures will not eliminate all risk or completely prevent people who are infected from entering the United States,” the federal health official told reporters. “But taken together they will help limit the number of infected people and provide us an early warning about new variants.”
Biden sang a different tune in 2020
Now flashback to the early months of the COVID pandemic in 2020, when then-candidate Biden held a decidedly different view with regard to travel restrictions applied specifically to China, Breitbart noted.
Then-President Trump, even before the first major wave of COVID infections hit the U.S., imposed in January of that year a number of restrictions on travelers arriving from China, where the pandemic first originated.
The Hill reported in May 2020 that Biden told Asian American and Pacific Islander supporters that Trump’s pandemic response, at least with regard to China, constituted little more than “denials, delays and distractions, many of which were nakedly xenophobic.”
“The pandemic has unleashed familiar forces of hate, fear and xenophobia that he always flames … that have always existed in this society,” Biden said of Trump at that time. “But this president brought it with him, has brought with it a new rash of racial messages, verbal and physical attacks and other acts of hate, some subtle, some overt, against the Asian American and Pacific Islanders.”
It will be interesting to see how Biden and/or his White House will respond if any reporters decide to raise the similarities in the Chinese travel restrictions imposed by the two presidents and ask directly why one set was “racist” and “xenophobic” while the other is perfectly fine and necessary.