CDC lifts COVID tests for those from China


In the last three years, there has been no clear indication as to when one of the CNMI’s largest tourism markets, China, would return, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent decision to rescind the need for a negative COVID-19 test for those traveling from China to the United States, it now appears the return of the CNMI’s once-thriving Chinese market is just right around the corner.

The CDC, which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced over the weekend that it has lifted its previous order requiring travelers from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to departing from China to the United States.

The CDC website states: “On March 10, 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…has rescinded order titled ‘Requirements for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for Aircraft Passengers Traveling to the United States from the People’s Republic of China.’”

According to CDC, this rescission took effect for flights departing to the United States from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau, and others after 3pm last March 10.

“This means that starting March 10, 2023, at 3pm ET, air passengers will no longer need to get tested and show the negative COVID-19 test result, or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19, prior to boarding a flight to the U.S. from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macau, or through a Designated Airport,” CDC states.

This is great news for the CNMI, according to MVA, as this means traveling to Saipan, as part of the United States, would be made easier.

According to the official order, on Dec. 30, 2022, the CDC issued an order prohibiting the boarding of passengers two years of age or older on an itinerary that included the United States on any aircraft departing from the PRC, including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau; or any aircraft departing from a Designated Airport if the passenger had been in China within the 10 days prior to their departure for the United States, unless the passenger presented paper or digital documentation of a negative result for a COVID-19 viral test taken no more than two calendar days before the departure of the flight or documentation of recovery from COVID-19.

“The order was issued in response to concerns that COVID-19 cases were surging in the PRC. At that time, mitigation measures were largely not known to be in use in the PRC, and there were significant gaps in data and information on cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Furthermore, the PRC had shared little genomic sequencing data and there were concerns that any new virus variants may have been undetected. Therefore, CDC concluded that the order was a reasonable and necessary measure in light of the surging cases in the PRC and gaps in information concerning the status of COVID-19 in the PRC,” said CDC.

However, current available epidemiologic data through global datasets and modeling results indicate that the COVID-19 surge experienced by the PRC has returned to a baseline level.

“According to World Health Organization data, daily cases peaked at 7,000,000 cases per day on Dec. 23, 2022, then declined 99% by Jan. 24, 2023, leveling off around 20,000 cases per day from Jan. 24 through Feb. 21, 2023,” the order stated.

This massive decline in cases seen per day and other available data prompted the CDC to rescind its December 2022 order.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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