US to require negative COVID-19 tests for arriving international air passengers

US to require negative COVID-19 tests  for arriving international air passengers

WASHINGTON DC--Nearly all air travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter the United States under expanded testing requirements announced on Tuesday.

  Under the rules taking effect January 26, nearly all travellers, including U.S. citizens, must show a negative test within three days of departure or documentation of recovery from COVID-19, under an order signed by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield.

  All travellers age two years and older must comply except passengers who are only transiting through the United States. The CDC will also consider waivers of testing requirements for airlines flying to countries with little or no testing capacity, including some places in the Caribbean.

  The order dramatically broadens a requirement imposed on December 28 for travellers arriving from the UK as a more transmissible variant of the virus circulated there. In an interview, Marty Cetron, director of CDC’s global migration and quarantine division, said, “We to have really up the ante. … We have to take these mutations seriously.”

  Canada imposed similar rules for nearly all international arrivals starting January 7, as have many other countries.

  The CDC confirmed last week that it had circulated a proposal to expand the testing requirement after discussing the idea for weeks. Some senior White House officials opposed it, and officials briefed on the matter said last week that U.S. public health officials had essentially given up winning approval until President-elect Joe Biden took office.

  At a White House meeting on Monday, Redfield again made an urgent case to adopt the testing requirements, people briefed on the meeting said. He raised concerns that vaccines could potentially not be effective against virus variants.

  Airlines for America, an industry trade group, praised the testing plan. Airlines had also wanted a ban to be dropped on most non-U.S. visitors who have recently been in Brazil and most of Europe, but the White House opted not to end it.

  Cetron said the entry restrictions should “be actively reconsidered.”

  Cetron confirmed that the CDC has discussed the idea of expanding the testing requirement to domestic U.S. flights, but emphasised that the new order only applies to international flights. ~ Reuters ~