US moving to toughen testing requirement for travelers - Albuquerque Journal

US moving to toughen testing requirement for travelers

Washington — The Biden administration is moving to toughen testing requirements for international travelers to the U.S., including both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, amid the spread of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Tuesday statement that it was working toward requiring that all air travelers to the U.S. be tested for COVID-19 within a day before boarding their flight. Currently those who are fully vaccinated may present a test taken within three days of boarding.

“CDC is working to modify the current Global Testing Order for travel as we learn more about the Omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States,” the agency said.

The precise testing protocols were still being finalized ahead of a speech by President Joe Biden planned for Thursday on the nation’s plans to control the COVID-19 pandemic during the winter season, according to a senior administration official who said some details could still change.

“CDC is evaluating how to make international travel as safe as possible, including pre-departure testing closer to the time of flight and considerations around additional post-arrival testing and self-quarantines,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said earlier Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s plans before the announcement, said options under consideration also include post-arrival testing requirements or or even self-quarantines.

CDC currently recommends post-arrival testing 3-5 days after landing in the U.S. from overseas and self-quarantine for unvaccinated travelers, though compliance is voluntary and is believed to be low.

The move comes just weeks after the U.S. largely reopened its borders to fully vaccinated foreign travelers on Nov. 8 and instituted a two-tiered testing system that allowed fully vaccinated travelers more time to seek a pre-arrival test, while requiring a test within a day of boarding for the unvaccinated.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, which has been identified in more than 20 countries but not yet in the U.S., including whether it is more contagious, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said more would be known about the omicron strain in two to four weeks as scientists grow and test lab samples of the virus.

As he sought to quell public concern about the new variant, Biden said that in his Thursday remarks, “I’ll be putting forward a detailed strategy outlining how we’re going to fight COVID this winter — not with shutdowns or lockdowns but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing, and more.”

Asked by reporters if he would consult with allies about any changes in travel rules, given that former President Donald Trump had caught world leaders by surprise, Biden said, “Unlike Trump I don’t shock our allies.”


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
NM asks National Guard, state workers to help schools ...
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham asked members ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham asked members of the National Guard and state employees Wednesday to volunteer as substitute teachers and child care workers as ...
2
Indigenous NM woman to lead Smithsonian American Indian museum
ABQnews Seeker
Her ancestry includes Hopi, Tewa and ... Her ancestry includes Hopi, Tewa and Navajo
3
Senate tension mars opening day as governor urges action
ABQnews Seeker
Mood, usually light during session's first ... Mood, usually light during session's first hours, quickly turns sour
4
Lujan Grisham spotlights pay, taxes, crime in State of ...
ABQnews Seeker
Top Republicans accuse Governor of shifting ... Top Republicans accuse Governor of shifting priorities in election year
5
COVID restraints are back in schools
ABQnews Seeker
Enhanced measures will be in effect ... Enhanced measures will be in effect for two weeks starting on Wednesday
6
Airman gets life in prison for death of Mennonite ...
ABQnews Seeker
An Air Force airman will spend ... An Air Force airman will spend the rest of his life in prison for kidnapping a Mennonite woman from northwestern New Mexico, fatally shooting ...
7
'Warming station' provides shelter, compassionate help
ABQnews Seeker
Pastor says she saw too many ... Pastor says she saw too many people spending the night at a nearby park
8
Salary hikes proposed for governor, top officials
ABQnews Seeker
Increases, meant to match other states, ... Increases, meant to match other states, could cost NM just over $400K per year
9
1% of state residents test positive for COVID
ABQnews Seeker
More than 21,000 new cases have ... More than 21,000 new cases have been reported since Friday
10
Ransomware attack on APS is now resolved
ABQnews Seeker
FBI advises school officials to not ... FBI advises school officials to not provide details of demands