International air passengers attempting to enter the United States will be required to present a recent negative Covid-19 test as the country grows concerned about the circulation of new, more transmissible variants of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require the test result from January 26. After landing, the CDC recommends that travelers take a test three to five days later and stay home for seven days.
Airlines will have to deny boarding to visitors who do not have a negative test result from the previous three days – or documents proving they have recovered from the disease.
Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said: “Testing doesn’t eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of stay at home and daily precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, they can make travel safer, healthier and more responsible. ”
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The United States already has travel restrictions to and from Europe and China for people who do not have a US passport or green card. Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, called for more restrictions on passengers from the UK, after B.1.1.7. variant was detected there.
United Airlines has said it will work with the federal government to implement the new order.
“As the first airline to offer testing to Covid customers, we know this is the key to unlocking international borders and safely reopening global travel,” he said. “United already have procedures in place to comply with similar orders for international jurisdictions, and we plan to expand them in light of this new mandate.”
American and Delta Airlines have asked questions of the Airlines for America business group. The group said in a statement that it “appreciates[d]”The CDC’s new testing regime and encouraged the Trump administration” to move forward with recommendations to simultaneously lift existing entry restrictions for travelers from Europe, the UK and the Brazil “.
The new measure also aims to protect Americans as a population gets vaccinated.
With high levels of vaccine reluctance, experts predict that there could still be a significant slice of the U.S. population that goes unvaccinated.
“With the United States already in a push, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public,” the CDC said in a statement.