Medical Technology

CDC to tighten COVID-19 Test Rules for Travelers to the US

Editor’s note: Find the most recent COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The CDC says it plans to make COVID-19 stricter for travelers to the U.S. by requiring them to provide a negative test within 24 hours of departure.

This is to slow down the spread of Omicron variants that have been identified in more than 20 countries around the globe.

“CDC is working to alter the current global testing orders for travel, as we learn more about the Omicron variant; a modified order would reduce the timeframe for testing of all air travelers from around the world to a day prior to their departure to the United States,” Jason McDonald is a spokesperson for the CDC told theThe New York Times .

“This strengthens already robust protocols for international travel, such as the requirement for travelers from abroad to be fully vaccine-vaccinated,” the official said.

A senior Biden administration official said to the newspaper that experts are looking into whether the current rules for international travel are too stringent. The current regulations allow fully vaccinated people to undergo a vaccination up until 3 days before they depart.

The Timesreported that officials have not yet announced when the new testing rules will be in effect. President Joe Biden is scheduled to announce further plans on Thursday to tackle the Omicron variant, though it’s unclear whether the international travel requirement will be included in that.

In the meantime, until new regulations are in place until new rules are in place, the CDC recommends that all travelers get tested 3 to 5 days following arrival in the U.S., McDonald told the newspaper. Even if tests are negative, non-vaccinated travelers must be held for seven days after arriving in the United America.

“We’re always looking at what we can do to help make that travel system more efficient,” Natalie Quillian (deputy coordinator for the White House COVID-19 Response) told the Times.

She said, “For example: Right now we’re assessing all our tests to make sure they’re effective at picking up this particular variant.” “If we discover that a test isn’t effective in identifying the variant, then we’ll remove it from the list of people who are allowed to enter the country.”

The CDC is also looking into an idea to require all travelers including U.S citizens, to self-quarantine for seven days after arriving in the United States. The Washington Post . If they fail to comply with this rule could be penalized with fines or even jail time.

Federal officials are debating whether the rule is too restrictive or enforceable. The newspaper reported that even though the local and state health departments are unlikely to be able to require additional tests or self-quarantines following arrival in the U.S.A, they may be able to strongly recommend it.


The New York Times: “The CDC plans to toughen coronavirus testing for travelers traveling to the U.S.”

The Washington Post: “Stricter coronavirus resting being weighted for all travelers to U.S.”

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