The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week said it is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the U.S., beginning January 26.
Under the new requirements, air passengers will be required to get a test within the three days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19.
Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger, the CDC said.
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, in a statement announcing the new requirement. “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 U.S. Travel Association backed the new requirement, with Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy, saying, ““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.”
But Barnes said the move should be accompanied by the lifting of international travel restrictions and quarantine requirement 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,” Barnes said.