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Doctors Warn of These COVID Symptoms, as US Imposes COVID Testing for Visitors From China

Cases from China may be flowing worldwide as the country lifts is "zero COVID" policy.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

China has lifted its "zero COVID" policy and restrictions, and as a result, countries remain on guard as an influx of Chinese visitors may lead to COVID spread. The CDC announced yesterday that "it will implement a requirement for a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery for air passengers boarding flights to the United States originating from the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau." They implemented this step "to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States." (They have reason to take caution: In Milan, for example, 50% of passengers from two Chinese flights were found to have COVID. Researchers are studying the cases to see if they are new variants.) In the meantime, two iterations of the Omicron variant, BQ.1.1 and BQ.1, currently represent over 70% of cases in the United States. Here are the most common symptoms of BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 you need to know, and all the details about the new testing per the CDC.


The CDC Says These Steps are "Critical" and Warn of Variants

The CDC said these steps were essential "during the surge in COVID-19 cases in the PRC given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from the PRC. These data are critical to monitor the case surge effectively and decrease the chance for entry of a novel variant of concern. CDC will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our approach as necessary."

They added: "Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world. However, reduced testing and case reporting in the PRC and minimal sharing of viral genomic sequence data could delay the identification of new variants of concern if they arise. Pre-departure testing and the requirement to show a negative test result has been shown to decrease the number of infected passengers boarding airplanes, and it will help to slow the spread of the virus as we work to identify and understand any potential new variants that may emerge."


The Rule Takes Effect January 5th


Says the CDC: "Starting at 12:01 AM ET on January 5, all air passengers two years and older originating from the PRC will be required to get a test (such as a PCR test or an antigen self-test administered and monitored by a telehealth service or a licensed provider and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or the relevant national authority) no more than 2 days before their departure from the PRC, Hong Kong, or Macau, and show a negative test result to the airline upon departure.

  • The requirement applies to these air passengers regardless of nationality and vaccination status.
  • This will also apply to persons traveling from the PRC via third country transit and to passengers connecting through the United States onward to further destinations.
  • Along with applying this requirement to direct flights from the PRC, passengers transiting Incheon International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport on their way to the United States will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test if they have been in the PRC in the last 10 days no more than 2 days before their departure to the United States. These three transit hubs cover the overwhelming majority of passengers with travel originating in the PRC and the Special Administrative Regions. We will continue to monitor travel patterns, adjust our approach as needed, and keep Americans informed in a timely manner.
  • Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before the flight can provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in lieu of a negative test result.
  • Airlines must confirm the negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board or deny boarding to the passenger."


Common BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 Symptom: Unexplained Sore Throat


The virus can infect the respiratory tract, including the throat, and cause inflammation and swelling. This can lead to a sore throat, as well as other symptoms such as cough, fever, and difficulty breathing. Omicron subvariants tend "to stay more in the upper respiratory tract," Dr. Otto Yang, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases and of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, told  It's important to note that a sore throat can also be caused by other factors, such as allergies or a cold, so it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. 


Common BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 Symptom: Night Sweats


Night sweats, or excessive sweating during sleep, can be a symptom of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It's not entirely clear why the virus can cause night sweats, but it's thought that the body's immune response to the virus may be a contributing factor. When the body is fighting off an infection, it may produce substances called cytokines that can cause fever and inflammation. These substances may also affect the body's temperature regulation, leading to night sweats. Night sweats can also be caused by other factors, such as menopause or certain medications.


Common BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 Symptom: Fever


This is a normal response to infection, and a fever can help the body to fight off the virus. If you have an unexplained sore throat, and then develop a fever and night sweats, "it's much more likely to be Covid than your run of the mill cold," said Dr. Justin Fiala, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Northwestern Medicine, told the New York Times.


Common BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 Symptom: Cold-Like Symptoms


COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, can cause symptoms that are similar to those of a cold, such as a sore throat, runny nose, and cough. This is because both COVID-19 and the common cold are respiratory illnesses that can infect the upper respiratory tract and cause inflammation and swelling. However, COVID-19 can also cause more severe symptoms, such as fever, difficulty breathing, and body aches, which are less common in a cold. It's important to note that the symptoms of COVID-19 can vary widely from person to person, and some people may have no symptoms at all.


Common BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 Symptom: Prolonged Symptoms if You are Not Vaccinated


"Symptoms are typically more prolonged in unvaccinated people, compared with those who are vaccinated, said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. Fever is much more common in people who are unvaccinated, he added," says the Times.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek