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A Negative Covid-19 Test Will be Required for International Travelers Starting January 26th

A new federal policy that will be going into effect on January 26, 2021, will require international travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight.


Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has mentioned that testing does not eliminate the risk of obtaining the virus. However, combining testing with additional precautions such as staying at home, social distancing, and wearing a mask can make for safer travels.


The new air travel policy will require all international travelers to be tested for COVID-19 within three days of their departure, regardless of their vaccination status. Travelers will also be required to provide their test results. Providing proof of immunization will not be adequate because COVID-19 vaccines only prevent serious illness. There will not be a requirement to provide a COVID-19 test within the three months after a positive test, as long as the traveler does not show symptoms of the virus. If the traveler has had a positive test, proper documentation from a health care provider will be required stating that the traveler is clear for travel.


Airlines will have to comply with the new policy and verify that all passengers have a negative test result before they board the plane. Airlines will have to deny boarding to passengers who refuse to be tested or do not provide proof of a negative test result.


This new policy is like the one implemented in December 2020 that required travelers from Britain to show proof of a negative test. President Trump’s administration implemented this new restriction due to the highly contagious strain of COVID-19 that was found in Britain. The new travel policy comes after the Japanese government stated that travelers from Brazil had brought new variants of the virus into the country.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised all travelers to get tested within three days before traveling and to re-test three to five days after the trip has been completed. Some airlines offer optional testing for their travelers and only require the test for flights to certain destinations. Airlines for America released a statement stating that they support the federal government if a national testing standard for air travelers is to be enforced.