US announces new Covid-19 travelling requirements for arriving passengers

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All persons travelling to the United States will now have to produce a negative COVID-19 test result that must not be more than three days old.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention made this announcement on Tuesday, stating that the new requirement will be effective as of January 26, 2021.

In the notice, the CDC said that it was expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States.

“Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the three days before their flight to the US departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger,” the CDC said.

Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19. This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans, the CDC stated.

Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, the CDC said, 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 authorities work to vaccinate the American public.

“Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again three-five days after arrival and stay home for seven days post-travel, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 within US communities from travel-related infections. Pre-departure testing with results known and acted upon before travel begins will help identify infected travellers before they board airplanes.”

According to the CDC Director Robert R Redfield, MD, testing does not eliminate all risk, “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.”

This order was signed by the CDC Director on January 12, 2021.