The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, is expanding the requirement for a negative Covid-19 test and as of the 26th of January, international travelers arriving at a US airport will need to test negative, via PCR or Antigen test, no more than 72 hours before their departure. The order was signed by Director Robert R. Redfield, CDC Director on January 12th, 2021.
The CDC affirms that testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of Covid-19. 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. With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers is aimed at slowing the spread of the virus as work is done to vaccinate the American public.
The CDC recommends to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 days post-travel. This would help slow the spread of Covid-19 within US communities from travel-related infections. Pre-departure testing with results known and acted upon before travel begins could help identify infected travelers before they board airplanes.
Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 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 for all passengers or documentation of recovery 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.
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” says CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, “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.”