CDC expands COVID-19 testing requirement to all air passengers entering the US

PHOTO: David J. Sencer CDC Museum Exterior, Atlanta, Georgia, Photo Date: 8/26/2011

NEW YORK  — On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines for passengers traveling to the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order will require anyone flying to the U.S. to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of their flight and provide documentation to the airline before boarding. Airlines will be required to document either the negative test or documentation of recovery from the coronavirus. All arriving passengers will be advised of the CDC recommendations to get tested again within three to five days after arrival and to stay home for seven days post-travel.

Airlines must deny boarding to any passenger who refuses to take a test or provide documentation of previous recovery from COVID-19.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” said 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.”

The CDC is hopeful that the new testing requirement will help slow the spread of coronavirus as vaccinations roll out nationwide. They stated that variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and that there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of those variants.

The order will become effective January 26, 2021.

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