US to require COVID-19 tests for all international travelers

The United States will start requiring international airline travelers to get a negative COVID-19 test before boarding flights to the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

“Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19,” the CDC said in a statement. “WIth the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public.”

The new rules are expected to start being enforced Jan. 26.   

Those seeking to enter the US will have to get a coronavirus test within three days of their departure, and once they land, follow CDC rules such as getting another exam within three to five days and quarantining for a week, the agency said. 

Airlines will need to check passengers’ test documentation before they board flights to the US. 

“Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period 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,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield.  

The US already implemented restrictions last month that require travelers from the United Kingdom to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test amid concerns about a new, more contagious strain of the virus.