Ten months into pandemic, CDC is now requiring international visitors to show negative COVID test

Starting January 26, international visitors will be required to show negative COVID-19 tests taken "no more than" 72 hours before their departure to the U.S.

Updated: January 12, 2021 - 5:05pm

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After 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is requiring all international travelers to produce a recent negative COVID test upon entry to the United States.

"Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19," the CDC said in a statement provided to Just the News on Tuesday. "This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans."

Airlines are tasked with enforcing the CDC's new pre-testing rule.

"Air passengers are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19," said the CDC statement. "Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger."

According to the agency, CDC Director Robert Redfield will formally sign the order establishing the pre-testing rule on Tuesday and it will take effect on January 26.

Just the News asked the Department of Homeland Security in September whether the U.S. was requiring international travelers to show a recent negative COVID-19 test. The agency referred the question to the CDC.

As COVID-19 cases continued to rise in the country, the CDC did not respond to multiple requests related to COVID-19 testing among international travelers.

For months, countries including Jamaica have been requiring visitors from the U.S. and other countries to present negative COVID-19 tests upon entry to their country.

On Dec. 24, the CDC announced that it was requiring travelers entering the U.S. from the U.K. to show negative COVID-19 tests "no more than" 72 hours prior to their scheduled departure to the U.S. 

The CDC's new pre-testing requirement applies to all international travelers.