us.-to-require-negative-virus-tests-from-international-air-passengers

Before they board planes to the U.S., passengers must produce proof that they don’t seem to be contaminated or have just lately recovered.

Travelers arriving at Terminal 4 at J.F.K. International Airport in New York last month.
Credit…Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Apoorva Mandavilli

Before boarding their flights, all worldwide passengers headed to the United States will first want to indicate proof of a damaging coronavirus check, in keeping with a brand new federal coverage going into impact on Jan. 26.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated in an announcement describing the brand new coverage.

“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.”

Dr. Redfield is predicted to signal the order detailing the brand new guidelines on Tuesday.

The new coverage requires all air passengers, no matter vaccination standing, to get a check for present an infection inside the three days earlier than their flight to the United States departs, and to supply written documentation of their check outcomes or proof of getting recovered from Covid-19.

Proof of immunization is not going to be adequate, as a result of the vaccines have solely been proven to stop critical sickness, stated Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the C.D.C. Vaccinated individuals should grow to be contaminated, in principle, and transmit the virus on a flight.

The company is not going to require additional testing within the three months after a constructive check, as long as the traveler has not had any signs. In this case, a passenger could journey with documentation of the constructive check end result and a letter from a well being care supplier or a public well being official stating that the traveler now has been cleared for journey.

Airlines should verify the damaging check end result for all passengers or the documentation of restoration earlier than they board. If a passenger doesn’t present proof of a damaging check or restoration, or chooses to not take a check, the airline should deny boarding to the passenger, the company stated.

“Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of Covid-19,” company officers stated in an announcement. “With the U.S. 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 coverage expands on the same rule, applied in late December, that required vacationers from Britain to indicate proof of a damaging end result on a check for the virus. The Trump administration launched that restriction following studies {that a} extra contagious variant of the coronavirus had grow to be the supply of the vast majority of infections in a lot of that nation.

That variant has since been detected in a number of American states and is more likely to have unfold much more extensively, scientists have stated. The United States genetically sequences solely a tiny proportion of its virus samples, nonetheless — too few to have an correct estimate for the variant’s unfold on this nation.

The new journey coverage comes on the heels of an announcement by the Japanese authorities on Tuesday that 4 vacationers from Brazil had imported one other new variant of the virus into Japan. Two different so-called variants of concern are stated to be circulating in South Africa and in Brazil.

The White House coronavirus process drive and federal companies, together with the C.D.C., have been debating the expanded necessities for weeks.

The C.D.C. at the moment recommends that every one air vacationers, together with these flying inside the United States, get examined one to 3 days earlier than journey, and once more three to 5 days after the journey is full.

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Many airways provide optionally available testing for passengers, however mandate it solely when locations require them to take action. But final week, a gaggle representing main U.S. airways backed a coverage that will require all passengers to get examined.

In an announcement, United Airlines welcomed the transfer, saying testing is “key to unlocking international borders.”

“United already has procedures in place to comply with similar orders for international jurisdictions, and we will plan on expanding those in light of this new mandate,” the airline stated in an announcement.

“Additionally, United is actively working to introduce new technologies and processes to make navigating these testing requirements easier both for our employees and our customers.”

Niraj Chokshi contributed reporting.