U.S. will require negative Covid tests for inbound international air travel


Passengers arrive on a flight from London amid new restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at JFK International Airport in New York, December 21, 2020.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

The U.S. will soon require airline passengers to prove they recently tested negative for Covid-19 before flying to the country, according to people briefed on the plan.

The measure, which aims to curb the spread of the disease, comes as new cases hit records.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirement for negative Covid tests, which was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, could take effect on Jan. 26, according to one of the people. The CDC, State Department and Transportation Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The CDC last month started requiring negative Covid tests for travelers flying from the U.K., as a more contagious strain of the virus was detected there, though it has since been found around the U.S.

International air travel remains extremely depressed because of the virus and travel restrictions that prohibit many foreigners from entering the U.S.

December international arrivals by air were down 76% from a year earlier, with noncitizen arrivals down 83%, according to Airlines for America, a trade group that represents most large U.S. airlines.

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