The Wall Street Journal notes that the United States is expected to require all international airline travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding an international flight to the USA starting later this month.
USA Will Require COVID-19 Tests For All International Travelers
The order will come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and may be issued as early as today. The measure has been under discussion for several weeks and is expected to go into effect on January 26, 2021.
Testing will be required for all travelers, including U.S. citizens returning home.
Airline reaction is mixed, though mostly positive. The procurement of COVID-19 tests is becoming easier, though still by no means easy. That may present a bottleneck for some returning passengers, especially as unpredictable processing times make every test within 72 hours of travel a close call.
On the other hand, airlines are thrilled at the prospect that testing and eventually vaccinations may take the place of travel restrictions that shut off most of the world to international travelers, particularly from the Untied States.
Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, the collective lobbying arm of U.S. carriers, noted:
“We believe a well-planned program focused on increasing testing of travelers to the United States will further these objectives in a much more effective way than the blanket travel restrictions currently in place.”
On December 24, 2o20, the U.S. began requiring a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) for incoming travelers from the United Kingdom. That program has been deemed effective and will now spread to other nations.
While “too little, too late” certainly comes to mind, this extra layer of protection cannot hurt the cause of stemming the spread of COVID-19 in the USA. Expect an official order later today or tomorrow with details and any potential exclusions or exceptions. Hopefully it will also lead to the lifting of the travel ban for Europeans and Chinese.