Mandatory Quarantine for International Air Travelers Coming to the U.S.?

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) international travel requirements for travelers coming to the United States (U.S.). This requirement is scheduled to begin on January 26, 2021. The requirements include, 1) travelers having proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure or 2) proof of recovering from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. The newly sworn in administration is looking to add to this requirement.

In an Executive Order posted today, the president stated “[travelers seeking to enter the United States are required] to comply with other applicable CDC guidelines concerning international travel, including recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the United States”.

While this is will go a long way in curbing the spread of COVID-19, the Executive Order did not give a quarantine of self-isolation timeframe. Pure speculation on my part, but I think it will be at least seven days. The order does, however, state that the CDC’s negative testing requirement will be reviewed within 14 days by the new Director of the CDC and Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The review will cover the following:

  • the timing and types of COVID-19 tests that should satisfy the negative test requirement, including consideration of additional testing immediately prior to departure;
  • the proof of test results that travelers should be required to provide;
  • the feasibility of implementing alternative and sufficiently protective public health measures, such as testing, self-quarantine, and self-isolation on arrival, for travelers entering the United States from countries where COVID-19 tests are inaccessible, particularly where such inaccessibility of tests would affect the ability of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to return to the United States; and 
  • measures to prevent fraud.

Final Word

This is quite a bit late, but definitely needed to control the spread of COVID-19. Other countries around the world have implemented similar measures to protect their citizens. While more information is needed prior to the quarantine/self-isolation implementation, this a HUGE first step.

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