In addition to rolling back travel restrictions for travelers from the United Kingdom and European Union, the Biden Administration announced that new travel restrictions will be coming to to unvaccinated Americans returning to the USA as part of a new “public health surveillance system.”
New Testing Requirements For Unvaccinated Americans Returning To USA
Speaking at a news conference this morning, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients laid out a broad overview of the plan, which includes the following framework:
- Unvaccinated Americans will have to test no more than one day before returning to the USA
- Currently, all Americans can test up to three calendar days in advance
- Unvaccinated Americans will also have to test on arrival
- It isn’t clear if this will be administered at the airport upon arrival, administered by the federal government or on the honor system
- A new “public health surveillance system” focusing on contact tracing is under development
- Airlines will need be tasked with collecting telephone numbers and email addresses
Zients promised more details at a later point, but the announcement raises many questions, most notably: what will post-flight testing actually look like?
When I returned from my last trip, I took part in a voluntary contact tracing program and post-flight testing program from the CDC. I received a daily reminder to submit my post-flight test until I did so. But no one called or knocked on my door…
I cannot imagine the manpower or logistics are in place to do anything more than send electronic reminders to incoming unvaccinated U.S. citizens about testing requirements.
The Biden Administration will add new restrictions to unvaccinated travelers returning to the United States starting in November. While details have yet to be revealed, it appears that testing must now be done no later than the day before travel and that post-flight testing will be required, though there may not be a powerful enforcement mechanism to actually determine if this is carried out.