New COVID-19 air travel restrictions take effect Monday

Coronavirus

ST. LOUIS – New COVID restrictions for international travelers arriving into the U.S. are taking effect starting Monday, to try and curb the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The CDC said beginning Monday “all air travelers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will be required to show a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test taken the day before they board their flight to the United States.

The U.S. is enacting travel bans in an effort to limit the spread of the new omicron variant, which the World Health Organization warned poses a “very high” global risk.

Under current rules, vaccinated international air travelers can present a negative test result obtained within three days of their day of departure. Unvaccinated travelers currently must get a negative COVID-19 test within one day of departure.

The White House said in a factsheet released Thursday, that the tighter testing timeline “provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant.”

The CDC order noted the Omicron variant has been found in 23 countries.

Last week, the White House said it would bar nearly all foreign nationals from entering the United States from eight southern African countries over fears of the spread of the Omicron variant, but has not extended those travel restrictions to other countries where the new variant has been discovered.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he viewed the restrictions on the eight countries as a “temporary measure.”

The new travel restrictions take effect Monday at 12:01 a.m. ET according to the CDC order issued late Thursday.

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