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Airlines will require a negative COVID-19 test from all air passengers coming to the United States beginning Jan. 26. 

On Dec. 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement requiring a COVID-19 test from passengers traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States.

“Passengers are required to get a viral test (i.e., a test for current infection) within the three days before their flight from the UK to the US departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (in hard copy or electronic) to the airline,” the CDC statement said.

On Dec. 25, CDC Director Robert Redfield signed the order that went into effect on Dec. 28.

Since then, the CDC released a new statement on Jan. 12, introducing the new requirements for travelers entering the United States.

The new variant of COVID-19 was first identified in the UK and is spreading worldwide. The CDC says the expansion of new requirements will help slow down the virus’s spread, as the United States is in a surge of infections.

“Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the US departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19,” the new CDC statement said. 

“Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board.”

Passengers who do not provide documentation of negative test results, recovery statements from a doctor, or choose not to take a COVID-19 test, will be denied boarding the airline’s plane. Passengers who provide false documents could receive criminal penalties, as well as airlines who do not follow the order. 

“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,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement.

The discovery of a new COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2, triggered the order. 
According to the CDC, there are a total of 72 cases of the variant in the U.S. Among ten different states, there are 32 cases in California, 22 in Florida, five in Minnesota, four in New York, three in Colorado, two in Connecticut, and one case each in Georgia, Indiana, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

Written ByLauren Akabori

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