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U.S. requires international air passengers to undergo a negative virus test



According to a new federal policy that will take effect on January 26, all international travelers to the United States must first prove that their coronavirus tests are negative before boarding.

In a statement describing the new policy, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said: “Testing does not eliminate all risks.”

“However, if combined with daily preventive measures such as staying at home for a period of time, wearing masks and staying away from social interactions, it can reduce the spread of aircraft, airports and destinations, making travel safer, healthy and responsible.”

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Dr. Redfield is expected to sign the order on Tuesday, detailing the new rules.

The new policy requires all airline passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, to undergo a test for current infection within three days before the departure of their flight to the United States and provide written proof of their test results or proof of recovery from Covid-19

Jason McDonald, a spokesperson for CDC vaccinators, said that because only the vaccine can prevent serious diseases, the immunization certificate is not enough. Theoretically, the vaccine may still be infected and spread the virus in flight.

As long as the passenger does not have any symptoms, the travel agency will not need further examination within three months after the positive examination. In this case, the passenger may travel with a document of a positive test result and a letter from a health care provider or public health official indicating that the passenger is now approved for business travel.

The airline must confirm the negative test results of all passengers or restore the documents before boarding. The agency said that if the passenger does not provide evidence of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to participate in the test, the airline must refuse boarding.

An official of the agency said in a statement: “Testing before and after travel is essential to slow down the launch and spread of Covid-19.” “As the United States is already in a state of surge, testing requirements for aircraft passengers will help us Slow the spread of the virus when vaccinating the American public.”

The policy is expanded on the basis of similar rules implemented in late December, which require travelers from the UK to show evidence of negative results for the virus. The Trump administration introduced this restriction amid reports that more infectious variants of the coronavirus have become the source of most infections in many parts of the country.

Scientists say that this mutation has been found in several states in the United States and may spread more widely. However, the United States has only genetically sequenced a small part of its virus samples, and the number of this variant that cannot be accurately estimated in the country is too small.

The new travel policy was released after the Japanese government announced on Tuesday that four travelers from Brazil had imported another new variant of the virus into Japan. Two other so-called interesting variants are said to be popular in South Africa and Brazil.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force and federal agencies including the CDC have been discussing expansion requirements for several weeks.

The CDC currently recommends that all travelers, including those flying within the United States, test one to three days before the trip and three to five days after the trip is completed.

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Many airlines offer optional tests for passengers, but only enforce them when the destination requires them to do so. But last week, a group representing major US airlines supported a policy that requires all passengers to be tested.

United Airlines welcomed the move in a statement, saying the test is “the key to freeing international borders.”

The airline said in a statement: “United Airlines has established procedures to comply with similar orders in international jurisdictions, and we will expand these procedures based on this new mission plan.”

“In addition, United Airlines is also actively working to introduce new technologies and processes to make it easier for our employees and customers to browse these test requirements.”

Niraj Chokshi contributed the report.


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