Air travelers wishing to enter the U.S. will have to show a negative coronavirus test before they can board a flight, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. (CDC) on Tuesday.
The new order takes effect on January 26.
CDC expressed concern about new variants of the virus that appear to be more transmissible, although dozens of these cases have already been found in the U.S. “Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants. As the United States is in a state of surge, the requirement for air passenger testing will help decrease the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the U.S. public,” CDC said in a statement.
“Air travelers must take a viral test (a test to detect current infection) within three days before departure of their flight to the U.S. and provide written documentation of the laboratory test result (on paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide recovery documentation recovered from covid-19,” the agency added in the statement sent to CNN.
“Airlines must confirm a negative test result for all passengers or recovery documentation before boarding. If a passenger fails to provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger,” it added.
“Testing does not eliminate all risks, but when combined with a period of stay at home and daily precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing, can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing the spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said in the statement.
The rule is similar to the one implemented last month for passengers from the United Kingdom to the United States, which requires that passengers have a negative test within three days of boarding their flight.
For the UK requirement that was enforced last month, airlines may be subject to criminal penalties if they fail to comply, and passengers may be subject to criminal penalties if they deliberately give false or misleading information.
The Airlines for America group has expressed its support for the new measure.