The US State Department is weighing whether to authorise departures for American diplomats and their families in China who wish to leave due to intrusive pandemic control measures.
Two sources familiar with the issue told Reuters the US Embassy on Monday had sent the request to Washington for formal sign-off, as China ramps up Covid-19 containment protocols ahead of the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics in less than two weeks.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, added that some embassy staff are upset the US government has been unwilling or unable to exempt American officials from strict quarantine measures.
The rules include possible forced admittance to Covid-19 fever clinics and separation from children.
The State Department said in a statement on Tuesday the operating status at its embassy and consulates in China had not changed.
“Any change in operating status of this nature would be predicated solely on the health, safety, and security of our colleagues and their family members,” a department spokesperson said.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard