Covid Test For Travel To China

on October 10th, 2023
with 0 Comments
in Health Information and Tips

The COVID-19 pandemic in China has lasted longer than most countries. Fortunately, the Chinese government recently announced the relaxation of COVID-19 entry requirements, a welcome relief for travelers.

As such, you don’t need a negative COVID-19 test result to enter China or a pre-departure test to board a plane. Even so, China customs authorities are always looking for people with symptoms such as fever.

If you have been in contact with an infected person, symptoms could show up anytime, including at the border point. Unfortunately, border officials may require you to test and self-isolation, which can cause significant delays in your travel plans.

It is, therefore, advisable to conduct a COVID-19 test in advance to make an informed travel plan. More importantly, consider procuring a test from a reputable urgent care center to avoid doubts about your COVID-19 status.

Covid Test For Travel To China

Do You Need a COVID Test to Fly to China?

On August 30, 2023, China removed the remaining COVID-19 entry requirement. As such, travelers will no longer need COVID-19 testing before boarding a flight. In addition, visitors will no longer need to show a negative PCR test to enter China.

Current Travel Restrictions for China

China has no travel restrictions, making it open to all international arrivals.

Requirements to Enter China from the U.S.

You’ll only require a valid U.S. passport and a relevant visa to enter China from the U.S.

Requirements for Returning to the U.S. from China

Effective 10th March 2023, air passengers will no longer be required to get tested or show a negative COVID-19 test result. They are also no longer required to show proof of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S. from China.

Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 SARS-CoV-2 virus. People with COVID-19 develop different symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In addition, symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

The period between infection and the display of symptoms is known as the incubation period. Unfortunately, you can still transmit the virus before the appearance of symptoms, a condition known as pre-symptomatic transmission.

The common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • A new and continuous cough
  • Fever and chills
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Congestion
  • Vomiting and Nausea
  • A new loss of smell or taste
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Pink eye-conjunctivitis
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Sore eyes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Abdominal pain

The above list of symptoms is incomplete; symptoms may change depending on new variants and vaccination status.

Some people get a mild form of COVID-19 and experience only a few symptoms. Other people may have no symptoms but still spread the virus through asymptomatic transmission. In other instances, individuals get severe COVID-19, causing worsening symptoms such as difficulty breathing or pneumonia a week after infection.

Some people who have COVID-19, whether mild or severe, continue to experience symptoms long after diagnosis. The long-term effects of infection are known as long COVID-19 or post-COVID conditions.

The common symptoms associated with post-COVID include breathlessness, fatigue, confusion, forgetfulness, and lack of mental focus or clarity. Long COVID can also hinder the ability to perform daily activities such as school, work, or home duties.

When to Visit an Urgent Care Center

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with an infected person, contact your healthcare provider for advice immediately.

Your healthcare provider will recommend you get tested for COVID-19.

More importantly, closely monitor your symptoms; seek immediate medical attention if you develop emergency symptoms.

Emergency symptoms can include:

  • Loss of speech or movement
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Constant pain and pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored lips, skin, or nail beds depending on your skin tone
  • Trouble waking up or staying awake

If you develop any of the above symptoms, call 911 or the nearest emergency center in your locality.


Although many people develop mild to moderate symptoms, the disease can cause severe medical complications and death in some people.

People with pre-existing health conditions and older people are at a greater risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19.

Complications of COVID-19 include:

  • Acute kidney injury
  • Blood clots
  • Trouble breathing and pneumonia
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Other bacterial and viral infections
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome which is a severe lung condition that causes a low amount of oxygen to go through your bloodstream to your organs

Total Cases

According to the World Health Organization data, China had 99,238,850 confirmed cases and 120,896 deaths. Even so, China has made remarkable progress by administering approximately 3.5 billion vaccine doses, the highest in the world.

Nonetheless, there is a steady growth of COVID-19 infections, with the World Health Organization reporting 315 new cases for the week ending on July 21, 2023.

What Will Happen if I test Positive for Covid-19?

If you show signs including fever, you may be required to take a COVID-19 test by China customs. If you test positive, you may be required to self-quarantine and seek medical attention.

Unfortunately, the testing procedure or seeking medical attention will disrupt your travel plans.

To that end, consider testing for COVID-19 in advance to avoid surprises at the point of entry in China.

Covid Test For Travel To China

Types of Tests for COVID-19

Different types of COVID-19 tests can detect an infection. Viral methods, including molecular or antigen test checks for a current COVID-19 infection. On the other hand, an antibody test checks for a previous COVID-19 infection.

Below is a breakdown of different COVID-19 tests in detail:

Molecular Test for COVID-19

A molecular test, also called a polymerase chain reaction(PCR) test, analyzes a specimen from the upper respiratory tract for genetic material (RNA ribonucleic acid) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

A healthcare provider uses PCR equipment to amplify small RNA into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The amplification process may continue 30-40 times until the SARS-C0V-2 virus is detected if present.

The process of amplifying nucleic acid enables the molecular test to detect small amounts of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a specimen, making it a highly sensitive and specific test. In a nutshell, a molecular test can reliably detect small amounts of COVID-19 virus, particularly when an individual has no symptoms.

Due to the high sensitivity of a molecular test, it is highly accurate and regarded as the ‘gold’ standard of diagnosing COVID-19 since its authorization. A positive result of a molecular test is enough to diagnose a COVID-19 infection.

Even so, it is possible to get a false-negative in a molecular test for the following reasons:

  • Testing Too Early: It takes up to five days after exposure before the virus’s genetic material builds up to detectable levels. You’ll likely get a false-negative if you test too early after an infection.
  • Testing Too Late: The viral genetic material declines in the upper respiratory tract a week after an infection. Therefore, testing too late after an infection may result in a false negative.

Here’s when you can expect the results of a molecular test.

The turnaround time for molecular tests varies. You can get the results in some healthcare facilities within 15-45 minutes. However, it may take 1-3 days if a lab assistant takes the samples to an external lab for analysis.

Antigen Test for COVID-19

An antigen test is an alternative test that checks for a current COVID-19 infection. An antigen test, called a rapid or self-test, looks for specific viral markers known as antigens.

If antigens of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are present, the antibodies in the antigen test will bind to them, producing a positive result. A healthcare provider collects the sample of an antigen test using a nasal swab.

An antigen test is less accurate than a molecular test, meaning you could get a negative result when infected with COVID-19. Although a positive result is highly accurate and reliable, a single negative outcome cannot rule out an infection.

FDA recommends the following steps to enhance accuracy levels:

  • A single PCR test to confirm a negative PCR test
  • 2 antigen tests for people without symptoms, done 48 hours apart
  • 3 antigen tests for people with symptoms, done 48 hours apart

Here’s when you can expect results:

Expect the results of an antigen test much faster than a molecular test. On average, it takes 15-30 minutes to get the results.

When to Get Tested for COVID-19

  • Consider testing immediately if you have symptoms.
  • If you don’t have symptoms but are already exposed to COVID-19, wait at least five days after your exposure before taking a test.
  • Testing is also helpful for people looking to attend an event, travel, or visit someone at a high risk of infection. Even so, it is advisable to test as close as possible to the day(1-2 days) of travel to make an informed decision about your health and reduce the risk of infecting others.

Interpreting a Positive Result

A positive COVID-19 result means that the test detected the virus and you have an infection.

Take the following steps.

  • Isolate
  • Take precautions, including wearing a high-quality mask or respirator to protect those around you from getting infected.
  • Tell people you had contact with that they may be exposed
  • Monitor your symptoms; if you develop emergency symptoms, seek immediate care
  • Contact a healthcare provider about the treatment options available to you.

You may return to normal activities, including travel if you’ve confirmed a negative test without symptoms or exposure.

Checklist and Resources for International Travelers

You require the following documents to enter China:

  • A U.S. passport valid for six months from the date of entry with two blank pages
  • A visa—either tourism, business, or student visa

Resources for International Travelers to China

China Travel Advisory

Emergency Resources

U.S. Traveler’s Checklist

Stay Informed

Understanding Your COVID-19 Risk

Anyone can get COVID-19 and experience varying symptoms ranging from mild to severe. However, certain factors expose people to the danger of getting more serious COVID-19 than others.

Here’s a list of people likely to get a severe form of COVID:

Adults Aged 65 and Above

Based on numerous studies, the risk of getting severely ill increases with age, and elderly citizens are at a high risk. Several reasons are behind it, including loss of immune function, decreased lung function, and inflammation. For instance, the immune system decreases with age, making aged people less able to fight viral and bacterial infections.

Immunocompromised People

Immuno-compromised people have a weak immune system, which makes them less able to fight an infection. In addition to the risk of COVID-19, immunocompromised people are likely to get severe illnesses. Examples of immuno-compromised people include those living with HIV, recipients of organ transplants, those undergoing chemotherapy, or people with primary immunodeficiency.

People With Heart Diseases

The respiratory and cardiovascular systems are interlinked— oxygen delivered to the lungs is delivered to the body by the heart. Due to the effect of COVID-19 on the respiratory tract, the added stress to the heart for people with pre-existing heart problems exposes them to severe high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.


Obesity is associated with impaired immunity because of persistent inflammation that hinders the ‘activation’ of the immune response. Although no apparent reason explains the risk of infection and severity of illness, people living in countries with high rates of obesity are at a greater risk.

Other conditions that increase the risk of a severe illness include:

  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant people
  • Liver diseases
  • Chronic Kidney disease

Know Your Status With COVID-19 Test for International Travel

A positive COVID-19 result can disrupt your plans for a business trip to China. If you develop troubling symptoms like breathing difficulties, you may need medical attention from a health facility, causing additional expenses and delays.

Consider undertaking a COVID-19 test in advance to avoid surprises in a foreign land.

Newport Urgent Care Center has a well-equipped lab and trained physicians ready to assist you.

Contact us online or call us at 949.752.6300 to book an appointment.