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

Before boarding their flights, all worldwide passengers headed to the United States will first want to point out proof of a damaging coronavirus take a look at, 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mentioned in an announcement describing the brand new coverage.

“But when mixed with a interval of staying at dwelling and on a regular basis precautions like sporting masks and social distancing, it might probably make journey safer, more healthy, and extra accountable by lowering unfold on planes, in airports, and at locations.”

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 take a look at for present an infection inside the three days earlier than their flight to the United States departs, and to supply written documentation of their take a look at 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, mentioned Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the C.D.C. Vaccinated individuals should grow 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 take a look at, as long as the traveler has not had any signs. In this case, a passenger could journey with documentation of the constructive take a look at end result 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.

Airlines should verify the damaging take a look at end result for all passengers or the documentation of restoration earlier than they board. If a passenger doesn’t present proof of a damaging take a look at or restoration, or chooses to not take a take a look at, the airline should deny boarding to the passenger, the company mentioned.

“Testing earlier than and after journey is a essential layer to sluggish the introduction and unfold of Covid-19,” company officers mentioned 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 identical rule, carried out in late December, that required vacationers from Britain to point out proof of a damaging end result on a take a look at for the virus. The Trump administration launched that restriction following stories {that a} extra contagious variant of the coronavirus had grow 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 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 job drive and federal businesses, together with the C.D.C., have been debating the expanded necessities for weeks.

The C.D.C. at the moment 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 non-compulsory 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 may require all passengers to get examined.

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

“United already has procedures in place to adjust to comparable orders for worldwide jurisdictions, and we’ll plan on increasing these in gentle of this new mandate,” the airline mentioned in an announcement.

“Additionally, 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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