All air passengers arriving into the United States will have to provide evidence of a negative Covid test to gain entry, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has confirmed.
The new requirement comes into effect from January 26, with passengers required to take the test no more than 72 hours before travel. This is in line with requirements recently introduced in Ireland, the UK and the EU.
But the CDC has also recommended that all arriving passengers isolate for seven days before departure, leaving only to get a Covid test.
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” CDC director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a statement, “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 United States Travel Association (USTA) welcomes the new testing mandate, with executive vice-president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes stating, “we appreciate the CDC’s announcement of a Covid-19 testing requirement for inbound international travellers. A testing requirement provides yet another layer of safety for international travel and should be accompanied by other risk-based policies – including lifting international inbound travel restrictions and dropping any post-arrival quarantine requirements.”
“With an international testing requirement in place, international visitors and returning residents would be tested at much higher rates than the general public and pose a much lower risk of transmitting the disease,” she added. “So, it would make sense to lift international travel restrictions and quarantine requirements at the same time.”
“With a risk-based, layered approach to health and safety throughout every aspect of travel, it’s possible to both protect public health and allow travel to safely resume.”