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CDC Expands COVID Restrictions for International Air Travel

January 25, 2021 by Daniel Mollenkamp

ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put into effect on Tuesday a new order that mandates all air passengers into the US have taken a viral test for coronavirus infection within three days of their flight.

Written documentation of either a negative test or documentation of having recovered from the coronavirus will be required from all passengers before boarding. Airlines will now have to confirm negative test results for their passengers, and they will have to deny boarding to anyone who refuses to show such documentation, the CDC said. 

The CDC has expressed some concern over the “increased transmissibility” of variants of the coronavirus. The agency commented that this measure will delay the spread of the virus providing time for the development of publicly available vaccines. 

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said. “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 new order enlarges the already existing US requirements for negative coronavirus testing, which applied specifically to passengers from the UK. It can be read about here.

This came in connection with the reinstatement of international travel restrictions by the Biden administration. The administration also on Monday imposed restrictions on non-US citizens who have visited Brazil, most of Europe, Ireland, the UK, or South Africa, barring their entry into the US. Similar restrictions had existed on travelers from Brazil and Europe, but the Trump administration ordered them to be removed in the last days before Biden took office. Their removal would have taken effect on Tuesday had the Biden administration not reimposed them. 

Coronavirus cases in the US continue to swell. The John Hopkins University map estimates that the US had just over 25 million confirmed cases of coronavirus by Monday, a little more than a quarter of the worldwide cases. 

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