The US is preparing to ease restrictions on Covid-19 testing for travelers from China as early as Friday, according to two people familiar with the decision.

The people, who were not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biden administration had decided to withdraw testing requirements as cases, hospitalizations and deaths fell in China and the US had gathered better information about the increase. The Washington Post first reported on Tuesday the easing of requirements.

The restrictions were imposed on December 28 and came into force on January 5 after a rise in the number of infections in China. suddenly eased pandemic restrictions. American health officials expressed concern that their Chinese counterparts were not being truthful about the number of infections and deaths.

At the time, U.S. officials also said there was a lack of transparency from the Chinese government about the size of the increase or the variants circulating.

As part of its response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded genomic surveillance at several U.S. airports, collected voluntary samples from passengers on hundreds of weekly flights from China, and tested wastewater from airplanes. The traveler-based genomic surveillance program will continue to monitor travelers from China and more than 30 other countries.

The rules, introduced in January, have required people traveling directly or through another country to the United States from China, Hong Kong and Macau to take a Covid-19 test no more than two days before travel and provide a negative test before boarding the flight. They could also show documentation of having caught and recovered from Covid.

China saw infections and deaths rise after the country relaxed its zero-Covid strategy in early December. There were rare public protests against a policy that confined millions of people to their homes and sparked protests and calls for President Xi Jinping to step down.