The United States government is implementing new coronavirus regulations for passengers on incoming international flights, requiring all passengers coming to the U.S. from abroad to show proof of a negative COVID test before boarding the plane.
"Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 days post-travel, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 within US communities from travel-related infections," the CDC said in a statement. "Pre-departure testing with results known and acted upon before travel begins will help identify infected travelers before they board airplanes."
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” Dr. Redfield said in a statement outlining the new policy. “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.”
The new policy, which will take effect on Jan. 26, would require passengers to obtain a viral test test within the three days prior to their flight to the U.S. and provide the results to the airline, or show proof of having previously recovered from COVID-19. Should a passenger fail to provide such documentation, airlines will be required to deny the passenger entry to their flight.
“Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of Covid-19,” agency officials said, per the New York Times. “With the U.S. 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.”
As of Jan. 8, international travelers arriving in the U.S. are advised to get tested 1-3 days before their flight, as well as 3-5 days after travel — but airlines are not mandated to deny entry to passengers based on their COVID status unless their destination requires such documentation.
The new policy closely resembles one implemented on Dec. 25 of last year, when the CDC issued a directive requiring all passengers arriving from the United Kingdom to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test. The move came after a new, seemingly more contagious strain of the virus was discovered in Europe. The variant has since been discovered in at least 10 states, according to CDC data released Monday.