The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that all air passengers entering the United States will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight. The new rule will go into effect Jan. 26.
The coronavirus continues to ravage the country, surpassing previously unthinkable milestones day after day. Hundreds of thousands of new cases are reported daily and the death toll is projected to surpass 400,000 in a few weeks. "With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public," the CDC said.
The CDC will require all passengers to get a test within three days of their departure. Written documentation of negative test results must be provided to the airline before boarding. Previously infected passengers can provide documentation of their recovery in lieu of a negative test result. Airlines won't let passengers board if they fail to comply.
Additionally, the CDC recommends passengers get tested again three to five days after arrival and stay home for the first week. "Testing does not eliminate all risk," CDC Director Robert Redfield said. "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."