US to Require COVID-19 Tests for Travelers Arriving From China Beginning Jan. 5

Posted on: December 28, 2022, 04:54h. 

Last updated on: December 28, 2022, 05:57h.

The US announced today that beginning next week all travelers arriving from China will be subject to COVID-19 testing.

US COVID-19 testing China Macau casino Las Vegas
Travelers check in at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport on Dec. 12, 2022, after China relaxed domestic travel restrictions. But China’s easing of outbound travel has resulted in the US reimposing entry testing requirements on people coming from the People’s Republic. (Image: Getty)

With COVID-19 running rampant across China after President Xi Jinping decided to end his draconian “zero-COVID” policy, the US is reimposing testing requirements for Chinese travelers. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its explanation for the testing resumption that the decision was partially made because of the lack of transparency from the People’s Republic.

CDC is announcing this step to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States during the surge in COVID-19 cases in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from the PRC,” the CDC statement said. “These data are critical to monitor the case surge effectively and decrease the chance for entry of a novel variant of concern.”

The CDC said the testing requirement goes into effect at 12:01 am EST on Thursday, Jan. 5. The federal health agency plans to continue monitoring the situation and will adjust entry protocols as appropriate.

Bad for Baccarat

Nevada casinos are winning more money than ever before. State gaming revenue has eclipsed $1 billion in each of the previous 20 months, an unprecedented streak.

Nevada is easily on pace to set a new annual gross gaming revenue record in 2022. Through 10 months, state casinos have won $12.3 billion. The state’s all-time highest casino haul came just last year, when GGR totaled $13.42 billion. With two months of casino reporting remaining, a new yearly GGR ceiling is nearly a sure thing.

Though casinos are busy and gamblers are losing in record fashion, Las Vegas Strip casinos still see some improvement areas within their Asian demographic. Though gaming income is soaring statewide, revenue from baccarat is only slightly higher from pre-pandemic 2019.

Baccarat is the game of choice for high rollers from Asia. In Macau, the only place in China where commercial casino gambling is permitted, baccarat occupies more floor space than slot machines or any other table game.

Requiring COVID-19 testing for incoming travelers from China could curb some pent-up international travel demand from Chinese mainlanders who might have otherwise opted for a trip to Southern Nevada.

The US is mandating that people traveling to the US from China, Hong Kong, or Macau undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen rapid self-test within two days of their departure for the US. The self-tests must be monitored by a telehealth service or medical professional licensed by relevant health authorities in China.

The negative test result must be shown to the airline before boarding. Positive test results will prohibit a person from boarding for the US.

China Importance

Chinese visitors have long been one of the largest groups of international travelers to Las Vegas.

In 2017, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) estimated that more than 260,000 Chinese residents arrived in Southern Nevada — a record high for the feeder market.

China typically accounts for about 4%-5% of all international traffic to Las Vegas in a nonpandemic year. Canada and Mexico account for about 70% of the foreign visits.

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