U.S. to Require Negative Virus Tests From International Air Passengers

Earlier than boarding their flights, all worldwide passengers headed to the US will first want to indicate proof of a detrimental coronavirus check, in line with a brand new federal coverage going into impact on Jan. 26.

“Testing doesn’t remove all threat,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, stated in an announcement describing the brand new coverage.

“However when mixed with a interval of staying at residence and on a regular basis precautions like carrying masks and social distancing, it could possibly make journey safer, more healthy, and extra accountable by decreasing unfold on planes, in airports, and at locations.”

Dr. Redfield is predicted to signal the order detailing the brand new guidelines on Tuesday.

The brand new coverage requires all air passengers, no matter vaccination standing, to get a test for current infection throughout the three days earlier than their flight to the US departs, and to supply written documentation of their check outcomes or proof of getting recovered from Covid-19.

Proof of immunization won’t be adequate, as a result of the vaccines have solely been proven to stop critical sickness, stated Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the C.D.C. Vaccinated folks should turn out to be contaminated, in concept, and transmit the virus on a flight.

The company won’t require additional testing within the three months after a constructive check, as long as the traveler has not had any signs. On this state of affairs, a passenger could journey with documentation of the constructive check outcome and a letter from a well being care supplier or a public well being official stating that the traveler now has been cleared for journey.

Airways should verify the detrimental check outcome for all passengers or the documentation of restoration earlier than they board. If a passenger doesn’t present proof of a detrimental check or restoration, or chooses to not take a check, the airline should deny boarding to the passenger, the company stated.

“Testing earlier than and after journey is a essential layer to sluggish the introduction and unfold of Covid-19,” company officers stated in an announcement. “With the U.S. already in surge standing, the testing requirement for air passengers will assist sluggish the unfold of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public.”

The coverage expands on an analogous rule, applied in late December, that required travelers from Britain to show proof of a negative result on a check for the virus. The Trump administration launched that restriction following reviews {that a} extra contagious variant of the coronavirus had turn out to be the supply of the vast majority of infections in a lot of that nation.

That variant has since been detected in a number of American states and is prone to have unfold much more extensively, scientists have stated. The US genetically sequences solely a tiny proportion of its virus samples, nonetheless — too few to have an accurate estimate for the variant’s unfold on this nation.

The brand new journey coverage comes on the heels of an announcement by the Japanese government on Tuesday that 4 vacationers from Brazil had imported one other new variant of the virus into Japan. Two different so-called variants of concern are stated to be circulating in South Africa and in Brazil.

The White Home coronavirus job drive and federal companies, together with the C.D.C., have been debating the expanded necessities for weeks.

The C.D.C. currently recommends that every one air vacationers, together with these flying inside the US, get examined one to 3 days earlier than journey, and once more three to 5 days after the journey is full.

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Many airways provide non-compulsory testing for passengers, however mandate it solely when locations require them to take action. However final week, a bunch representing main U.S. airways backed a policy that might require all passengers to get examined.

In an announcement, United Airways welcomed the transfer, saying testing is “key to unlocking worldwide borders.”

“United already has procedures in place to adjust to related orders for worldwide jurisdictions, and we are going to plan on increasing these in mild of this new mandate,” the airline stated in an announcement.

“Moreover, United is actively working to introduce new applied sciences and processes to make navigating these testing necessities simpler each for our workers and our clients.”

Niraj Chokshi contributed reporting.

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