The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new order effective Jan 26: All air travelers arriving in the United States are required to produce a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days of departure. In addition to the negative test, travelers will need to quarantine for 7 days upon arrival, and take a second COVID-19 test within 3 to 5 days of landing in the US.

“Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants,” the CDC said in a media statement yesterday. “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.”

Passengers will have to provide airlines written proof of their negative test results, or provide documents that prove they have recovered from COVID-19.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, in the 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.”

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