CDC working to tighten testing requirement for international travelers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working to tighten testing requirements for international travelers arriving in the United States in the face of the omicron variant, the agency said Tuesday night. 

The change would require all international air travelers arriving in the U.S. to show a negative test from within one day, a shorter timeline than the current three days allowed for vaccinated travelers. 

“CDC is working to modify the current global testing order for travel as we learn more about the omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States,” a CDC spokesperson said. “This strengthens already robust protocols in place for international travel, including requirements for foreign travelers to be fully vaccinated.”


The agency did not give a timeline for when the change would take effect. 

The move comes as the Biden administration is weighing a range of options to deal with the omicron variant, though much remains unknown about the potential threat. The administration has already restricted travel from several southern African countries. 

CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Overnight Health Care — Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 MORE said earlier on Tuesday that new requirements for after travelers arrive in the U.S. could be coming too, including “additional post-arrival testing and self-quarantines.”

The CDC already says international travelers should get tested 3-5 days after arrival. 

President BidenJoe BidenPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Vilsack accuses China of breaking commitments in Trump-era trade deal MORE is set to provide more details on a plan to fight the virus on Thursday. 

Walensky also said Tuesday that the CDC is expanding testing to search for the new variant at four major airports for international arrivals, in New York, Newark, San Francisco and Atlanta.