NEW YORK – Anyone flying to the U.S. will soon need to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19, health officials announced Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement expands on a similar one announced late last month for passengers coming from the United Kingdom.
COVID is already widespread in the U.S., with more than 22 million cases reported to date, including more than 375,000 deaths. The new measures are designed to try to prevent travelers from bringing in newer forms of the virus that scientists say can spread more easily.
The CDC order is to take effect in about two weeks, on Jan. 26. It requires air passengers to get a COVID-19 test within three days before their flight departs to the U.S., and to provide written proof of the test result to the airline. Travelers can also provide documentation that they had the infection in the past and recovered.
Airlines are ordered to stop passengers from boarding if they don’t have proof of a negative test or a prior infection.
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. “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.”