Almost all air travelers will need to present a negative coronavirus test to enter the United States during extended testing requirements announced on Tuesday.
According to the rules, which take effect on January 26, almost all travelers, including US citizens, must show a negative test within three days of departure or documentation of recovery from COVID-19, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
All travelers aged 2 and over must accompany except passengers traveling only through the United States. The CDC will also consider exemptions from test requirements for airlines flying to countries with little or no test capacity, including certain locations in the Caribbean.
The order extended a requirement introduced on 28 December for travelers arriving from the UK as a more transmissible variant of the virus circulating there.
The CDC confirmed last week that it had disseminated a proposal to extend the test requirement worldwide. Officials who were briefed on the matter said that last week, public health services in the United States had largely refrained from gaining approval until President-elect Joe Biden took office.
Canada, like many other countries, introduced similar rules for almost all international arrivals from 7 January.
At a White House meeting on Monday, CDC Director Robert Redfield again made an urgent case to adopt the test requirements, people informed about the meeting said. He expressed concern that vaccines might not be effective against virus variants.
Earlier this month, major US airlines supported the CDC’s efforts to implement a global testing program that requires negative testing for air passengers flying to the United States.