Negative Covid-19 Tests Now Required for Travelers Flying to U.S.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday it will now require a negative Covid-19 test from all air passengers entering the United States. The move is aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus. Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19. The new policy will go into effect Jan. 26.
Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants.
Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 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 travelers before they board airplanes.
Those who plan to travel to the U.S. are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. 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.
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” says CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, “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.”
Travel to the U.S. has surged in recent weeks. There were 2.1 million arrivals between Dec. 1 and Dec. 28, an average of 76,000 passengers a day. Thatis four times higher than the arrivals recorded back in June. But even with the recent uptick, international arrivals are expected to be down sharply. In February, airlines have scheduled a total of 29,121 flights to the U.S. compared with 51,500 last year, according to aviation data firm Cirium.