CDC mandating negative COVID-19 test for air passengers entering the US

It was really wishful thinking that 2021 would magically be better when it came to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the availability of vaccines definitely gives some hope, new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus threaten to throw us into a loop again. Never having really gotten a hold of the situation, the US is now facing the threat of these new variants coming from countries. In an effort to at least stem the tide, the CDC is now requiring that everyone entering the US via air transportation prove to be negative from COVID-19 or else be denied even getting on a plane.

The US is still in surge mode, with new cases number in hundreds of thousands daily. The new strain of COVID-19 was initially discovered as originating from the UK but reported cases have now spread to different countries around the world. Rather than issue separate orders for each of these countries, the CDC is extending its earlier requirement for travelers coming from the UK to anyone and everyone entering the US.

The most basic requirement is that air passengers are required to get a viral test within three days before their flight to the US. Airlines are required to confirm either a negative result or documentation of recovery for passengers who already contracted the virus. Anyone who refuses to submit such documentation or even take a test should not be allowed to even board the plane, according to the rules that will take effect on January 26.

Although not mandatory, the CDC also recommends a few other steps to help slow the spread of the virus in the country. Air passengers that arrived in the US are advised to take another test 3 to 5 days after arrival and should stay home for up to 7 days. Previous recommendations included a 14-day self-quarantine.

The CDC acknowledges that testing alone will not reduce the risk of spreading the virus but it plays a part in slowing it down. Other countries have opted to lock down borders from countries with reported cases of the new COVID-19 strain, something that the US can't afford to do, making mandatory testing its most feasible option.