Washington, Jan 12 (EFE).
The U.S. government will require a negative COVID-19 test of all air passengers before flying into the country, including Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday.
The measure, which will take effect January 26th, also establishes a recommendation to be re-tested three to five days after arrival in the country and to remain quarantined at home for seven days after travel.
“Pre- and post-trip testing is a critical measure to curb the introduction and spread of COVID-19,” CDC said in a statement.
“This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more effectively protects the health of Americans,” the government agency added.
The United States, the country most affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the world, has already recorded more than 22.7 million confirmed infections and nearly 380,000 deaths, while cases continue to rise nationwide.
CDC justified this move by stating that different variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are increasingly emerging in countries around the world and that “there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these strains.
“The testing requirement for air travelers will help stop the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the U.S. public,” CDC said.
Negative laboratory tests for COVID-19 will have to be done within three days prior to travel to the United States and must be documented in writing to the airline, which will be responsible for confirming these results.
“If a passenger fails to provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or a test is not performed, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger,” the CDC explained.
The measure comes at a time of concern about the spread of the new variant of the virus registered in the United Kingdom and of which several cases have already been found in the United States.
Since the end of December, the country had already required a negative coronavirus test to be carried out at least 72 hours before travel for those flying from British airports.
Currently, the United States prohibits the entry of travelers from many countries, including those from the European Union (EU), unless they are U.S. citizens, permanent residents or have some sort of exemption.
The CDC didn’t indicate if these new guidelines will replace the restrictions already in place.
“Testing doesn’t eliminate all risks, but when combined with a period of staying home and daily precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing, can make travel safer,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in the statement.