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USA to require negative COVID-19 test for all arriving international travelers

By Laura Brown
updated September 29, 2021
waiting for boarding
Tyler Olson/Dreamstime
The move raises the question: why weren't we doing this before?

On Tuesday, the CDC announced a new requirement that anyone flying to the US must show a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed entry to the United States. The order takes effect in two weeks, on January 26, 2021. It applies to US citizens as well as foreign travelers. 

The order requires arriving air passengers to show proof of a negative COVID test within 3 days of their flight to the US. Alternatively, travelers can show proof that they've had the disease in the past and recovered, or that they have been vaccinated. 

Americans are banned from traveling to most countries across the world, and countries that do allow Americans to enter have required negative COVID tests since mid-2020. 

The move begs the question: why weren't we doing this before? COVID is already widespread in the United States. On Tuesday, 230,000 new cases were reported, alongside 4,406 deaths. 

International travel is down an estimated 75% from prior years, due to restrictions in place around the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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