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

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Before boarding their flights, all worldwide passengers headed to the United States will first want to point out proof of a detrimental coronavirus check, in keeping with a brand new federal coverage going into impact on Jan. 26.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mentioned in a press release describing the brand new coverage.

“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.”

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

The new coverage requires all air passengers, no matter vaccination standing, to get a check for present an infection inside the three days earlier than their flight to the United States departs, and to offer 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 severe sickness, mentioned Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the C.D.C. Vaccinated folks should turn out to be contaminated, in idea, 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. In this case, a passenger could journey with documentation of the constructive check outcome and a letter from a health care supplier or a public health official stating that the traveler now has been cleared for journey.

Airlines 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 mentioned.

“Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of Covid-19,” company officers mentioned in a press release. “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.”

The coverage expands on the same rule, carried out in late December, that required vacationers from Britain to point out proof of a detrimental outcome 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 nearly all of infections in a lot of that nation.

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

The new journey coverage comes on the heels of an announcement by the Japanese authorities 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 mentioned to be circulating in South Africa and in Brazil.

The White House coronavirus activity pressure and federal businesses, together with the C.D.C., have been debating the expanded necessities for weeks.

The C.D.C. presently recommends that each one air vacationers, together with these flying inside the United States, get examined one to a few days earlier than journey, and once more three to 5 days after the journey is full.

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Many airways supply optionally available testing for passengers, however mandate it solely when locations require them to take action. But final week, a bunch representing main U.S. airways backed a coverage that might require all passengers to get examined.

In a press release, United Airlines welcomed the transfer, saying testing is “key to unlocking international borders.”

“United already has procedures in place to comply with similar orders for international jurisdictions, and we will plan on expanding those in light of this new mandate,” the airline mentioned in a press release.

“Additionally, United is actively working to introduce new technologies and processes to make navigating these testing requirements easier both for our employees and our customers.”

Niraj Chokshi contributed reporting.

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