The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday that it would require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before visitors flying into the US are allowed entry into the country. This move, the agency said, was geared towards helping to curb the spread of the coronavirus and an effort to aid airlines to recover from the devastating impact of the coronavirus, which dwindled the revenue of operators.
According to the CDC, the new mandate will require passengers to get tested within three days of their flight to the United States while providing written documentation of their lab results or proof of having recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection.
The new mandate will go into effect on January 26 after receiving approval from the director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield.
The CDC said that new variants of coronavirus have emerged in many countries, with ample evidence that this new strain was more transmissible to others. With the US already facing a surge in the number of COVID-19 infections, the new measure would help the country halt the spread of the disease while vaccination efforts move on in top gear.
The CDC said that airlines should refuse boarding to passengers that refuse to present evidence showing their negative status, documentation of recovery, or those unwilling to take a test. Redfield said in a statement that while testing does not totally eliminate the risk of COVID-19, staying safe at home, wearing masks, and observing social distancing, can make traveling a safe affair by reducing the spread of the disease in planes, airports, and at travel destinations, CNN reports.
The new variant of the coronavirus confirmed to be easily spread by an infected person to others, had already been found in at least ten states in the US way back in December.
Meanwhile, airline operators appear to be in consonance with the new measure by the CDC. Airlines for America, an airline industry group, wrote to Vice President Mike Pence recently, expressing support for the CDC proposal. The group said it believed that the proposed measure, which required an increased level of testing for travelers, will effectively curb the spread of the virus while promoting essential economic activity.
The new rule by the CDC is also quite similar to the one announced by the UK, which required that passengers test negative for COVID-19 three days before their flight to the UK. The decision by the UK, which has already been ratified by the relevant authorities, makes it a criminal offense if airlines do not comply with the requirements.