I wrote a post, just a couple of days ago, imploring travelers to get a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) prior to and after their trip. The post generated quite a few positive and negative responses. The intent of the message would take time to see if it had any sort of lasting effect. Well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made a negative COVID test mandatory for travelers entering the United States (U.S).
Beginning January 26th, all air passengers traveling to the U.S. are required to have a test within three days of the flight departure to the U.S. The traveler must 1) provide written documentation of the test, in paper or electronic form, to the airline, or 2) provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. The airlines will confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery prior to boarding. Airlines will deny boarding to passengers if they do not provide negative test or recovery documentation. Boarding will also be denied if the passenger chooses not to take a test at the departure airport.
While the negative test or recovery documentation are mandatory, the CDC has some recommendations for travelers upon arrival. 1) Retest three to five days after arrival, and 2) stay home for seven days after travel. The CDC feels these recommendations will help slow the travel related spread of COVID-19 within the U.S.
CDC Director Robert R. Redfield stated, “Testing does not eliminate all risk, 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.”
The CDC order was signed on January 12, 2021.
While this is definitely late to need, the mandatory test or documentation for entry into the U.S. is a welcomed sight. I am excited about the prospects of safer travel, especially international travel. Travel has been more than limited since the pandemic spread throughout the world, which makes me that more excited about this news. Now we only have to get travelers to test or show recovery documentation when flying domestically. This is a great start!