By Carol Schaer, Director, Operations and Leisure Programs
Starting January 26 onward, the U.S. government will require all inbound international passengers to test negative for COVID-19, and present proof, before boarding flights into the United States, including Americans returning from abroad.
All air passengers must get a viral test within three days of their flight to the U.S. and bring documentation of either the test (can be electronic) or documentation that they were infected and recovered, to their airline. Airlines, according to the CDC rules, must then confirm the negative test for all passengers before boarding, and any passenger without the documentation will be denied boarding.
Passengers on flights from the U.K. are already required to produce a negative COVID-19 before boarding, and the new order expands that requirement to all inbound international travelers, including those entering from Canada.
The CDC, in its release, said that “variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants. With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public.”
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, said in the release ,“but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”
It’s unclear how the move will impact international travel, which has already been dramatically reduced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the border closures and expanded travel rules that followed. However, expanded testing has been seen as the solution to quarantine rules, which have been discouraging for potential international travelers.
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