CDC to require negative COVID-19 tests from international passengers boarding US flights


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines that require all international passengers boarding U.S. flights to get a negative COVID-19 test before flying. 

The new mandate requires a negative test before the departure, a seven-day quarantine when a passenger arrives in the U.S., and another coronavirus test 3-5 days after arriving. The order will be signed on Tuesday and put into effect on Jan. 26. 

Passengers will need to get a test three days before their flight to the U.S. and provide documentation of their negative test results to the airline. If the documentation isn’t provided, the passenger is not allowed to board the flight. 

“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 statement reads. 

Negative COVID-19 tests to allow passengers into a country have not been uncommon in other parts of the world during the pandemic. The U.S. put that requirement on those traveling from the United Kingdom a couple of weeks ago due to the new coronavirus strain that was coming out of the area. 

Despite the U.S. order for the United Kingdom, the UK strain of the coronavirus has been confirmed in multiple states across the country. 

U.S. airlines have suffered immensely during the pandemic due to lack of travel and strict restrictions for air travel. Some airlines are arguing that testing requirements to fly should take the place of quarantine waits and travel bans.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield. “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.”

There has been an uptick of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and other parts of the world. President-elect Biden is hoping to increase the number of vaccines being administered once he enters into office. 

This is no indication of how long the testing requirement to get into the U.S. would be in place. Many states still have their own restriction for indoor dining and large gatherings due to the pandemic.  

Updated: 5:47 p.m.

Tags air travel restrictions airplanes Center for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus COVID-19 Joe Biden Robert Redfield United States
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