Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
President Donald J. Trump will sign an order on Friday requiring all passengers from the United Kingdom to produce a negative COVID-19 test before boarding flights to the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late on Thursday.
The CDC said the new rule would be applied beginning Monday and would require all passengers from the UK to show they tested negative for the coronavirus within the 72 hours before boarding a flight to the United States, using either a PCR or antigen test.
The United Kingdom has been battling a new variant of the coronavirus which is believed to be more contagious.
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Many countries have already imposed restrictions on travel from the UK, and the Governor of New York where most passengers from UK land had called for an immediate travel restriction.
The CDC wrote: “Today, President Trump is taking another step to protect the health of the American people by requiring air passengers arriving from the United Kingdom (U.K.) to test negative, via PCR or Antigen test, no more than 72 hours before departure from the U.K. to the United States.
“The public health authorities in the United Kingdom recently announced the discovery of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and preliminary analysis in the U.K. suggests that this new variant may be up to 70% more transmissible than previously circulating variants.
“On March 14, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamationexternal icon to suspend the entry of foreign nationals who visited the United Kingdom in the past 14 days. This has reduced air travel to the U.S. from the U.K. by about 90%. This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel. The order is consistent with existing CDC testing guidance and U.S. Department of Transportation / Federal Aviation Administration guidance in the “Roadway to Recovery” document.
“This new order is consistent with the measures that have been taken so far to increase our ability to detect and contain COVID-19 proactively and aggressively.
“Passengers are required to get a viral test (i.e., a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight from the U.K. to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (in hard copy or electronic) to the airline. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before they board. If a passenger chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
“This order will be signed tomorrow, December 25, and become effective on December 28, 2020.”