Before boarding any flights, all international passengers traveling to the United States must first demonstrate a negative coronavirus test under a new federal policy that comes into effect Jan. 26.
“Testing doesn’t eliminate all risks,” said Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement describing the new policy.
“However, when combined with staying at home and taking everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, travel can become safer, healthier and more responsible by reducing its spread on airplanes, airports and travel destinations.”
Dr. Redfield is expected to sign the contract with the new rules on Tuesday.
The new directive requires that all passengers, regardless of vaccination status, have a Current infection test within three days of departure for the US and for written documentation of your test results or to prove recovery from Covid-19.
Evidence of immunization will not be enough as the vaccines have been shown to only prevent serious diseases, said Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the C.D.C. Vaccinated people can theoretically still become infected and transmit the virus on a flight.
The agency will not require any further testing in the three months following a positive test, as long as the traveler has no symptoms. In this situation, a passenger may travel with documentation of the positive test result and a letter from a health care provider or public health officer stating that the traveler has now been cleared for travel.
Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before boarding. If a passenger fails to provide evidence of a negative test or recovery, or fails to take a test, the airline must refuse to board the passenger, the agency said.
“Tests before and after travel are an important layer in order to slow down the introduction and spread of Covid-19,” said a statement by the officials. “With the US already in the surge status, the passenger testing requirement will help slow the spread of the virus while we work to vaccinate the American public.”
The directive extends a similar rule that was implemented in late December. For this purpose, travelers from Great Britain had to provide evidence of a negative result on a test for the virus. The Trump administration introduced this restriction after reports that a more contagious variant of the coronavirus had become the source of most infections in much of this country.
This variant has now been discovered in several American states and, according to scientists, is likely to have spread even more. However, the United States genetically sequences only a tiny fraction of its virus samples – too few to have an accurate estimate for the spread of the variant in this country.
The new travel policy follows an announcement by the Japanese government On Tuesday, four travelers from Brazil imported another new variant of the virus to Japan. Two other so-called worrying variants are said to be in circulation in South Africa and Brazil.
Confused by Coronavirus Testing Conditions? Let us help:
- antibody:: A protein made by the immune system this can accurately identify and bind to certain types of viruses, bacteria, or other intruders.
- Antibody test / serology test: A test that detects antibodies specific to the coronavirus. About a week after the coronavirus infects the body, antibodies start appearing in the blood. Because antibodies take so long to develop an antibody test tilt reliably diagnose an ongoing infection. However, it can identify people who have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past.
- Antigen test: This test detects parts of coronavirus proteins called antigens. Antigen tests are quick and only take five minutes less accurate as tests that detect genetic material from the virus.
- Coronavirus: Any virus that belongs to the Orthocoronavirinae virus family. The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is known as SARS-CoV-2.
- Covid19: The disease caused by the new coronavirus. The name is short for Coronavirus disease 2019.
- Isolation and quarantine: Isolation is separating people who know they have a contagious disease from those who are not sick. quarantine refers to restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a virus.
- Nasopharyngeal smear: A long, flexible stick with a soft swab that is inserted deep into the nose to collect samples from the space where the nasal cavity meets the throat. Samples for coronavirus testing can can also be collected with swabs that do not go so deep into the nose – sometimes called nasal swabs – or mouth or throat swabs.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): Scientists use PCR to make millions of copies of genetic material in a sample. Researchers can use PCR tests to detect the coronavirus even if it’s tight.
- Viral load: The amount of virus in a person’s body. For people who are infected with the coronavirus, Viral loads can peak before they show symptoms. if symptoms occur at all.
The White House coronavirus task force and federal agencies, including the C.D.C., have been debating the expanded requirements for weeks.
The C.D.C. currently recommends that all air travelers, including those flying within the US, are tested one to three days before departure and again three to five days after the trip is completed.
Many airlines offer optional tests for passengers, but only mandate them if the destinations so require. But last week a group representing major US airlines a policy supports To do this, all passengers would have to be tested.
In a statement, United Airlines welcomed the move, saying testing was “the key to opening up international borders”.
“United already has procedures in place to comply with similar regulations for international jurisdictions and we will plan to expand them in light of this new mandate,” the airline said in a statement.
“In addition, United is actively working to introduce new technologies and processes to make it easier for our employees and our customers to navigate these test requirements.”
Niraj Chokshi contributed to the coverage.