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COVID-19: Everything You Need to Know about U.S. Travel Restrictions

The director of the CDC signed an order on Monday requiring the use of facemasks during air travel and requiring all travelers to be tested for coronavirus within three days of flying.

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With the arrival of Joe Biden’s administration, new travel restrictions have been implemented to “curb the spread of COVID-19“; these are regulations for travelers that include virus detection tests, the prohibition of entry of some passengers, and the obligation to wear masks.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed an order on Monday requiring the use of facemasks during air travel and requiring all travelers to be tested for coronavirus within three days of flying.

Another measure includes a ban on entry for most non-US citizens who have recently been to South Africa; as well as re-imposing an entry ban on nearly all non-US travelers who have been to Brazil, the UK, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe.

“People who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents generally cannot come to the U.S. from most of Europe, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, and Iran, with some exceptions,” notes The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

New measures to travel to the U.S.

The new order, which goes into effect on January 26, will apply to all persons traveling to the U.S. on international flights from any country. The traveler will be required to show negative test results, even if flying on a private plane or charter flight.

Air travelers must submit to the test no more than three days in advance and show written or electronic proof of the results. Airlines may accept both PCR and rapid antigen tests.

Airlines such as American Airlines are expanding access to a health passport application where travelers will upload documents such as negative Covid-19 test results. Starting Jan. 23, the VeriFly app will be available.

If travelers has been vaccinated they will still need to show negative test results.

COVID-19 - El American - Biden
U.S. travel measures: Biden to restrict travel from Brazil, UK and include South Africa (EFE)
What about those who already had COVID-19?

If the traveler has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past three months, they can travel as long as they have written permission from a health care provider or public health official.

“Bring your positive test result and the doctor’s letter to show the airline instead of a negative test result,” it notes.

What about passengers that must change their flight plans?

Airlines are already easing exchange fees for people who need to adjust their plans. Carriers such as American and Delta Airlines, for example, will allow people to rebook international tickets to the United States.

What about people returning to the U.S.?

The CDC recommends that people get a second test three to five days after travel and stay home for seven days; if not tested they recommend quarantine for 10 days.

President Biden has said he believes people arriving from overseas should be required to quarantine themselves; his executive order says air travelers should follow CDC guidelines, including self-isolation recommendations as much as reasonably possible.

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