President Joe Biden's newest COVID-19 restrictions will require all travelers to undergo COVID-19 testing one day before entering the United States, regardless of vaccination status, citizenship, or country of origin.
Biden also announced Thursday that he is extending the mandate requiring masks in airports and on public transportation from Jan. 18 to March 18, as Americans enter the pandemic's third year, Voice of America reports.
These requirements are part of Biden's winter COVID strategy as the newest Omicron variant spreads. Two cases have been confirmed in the United States, but a South African doctor who helped discover Omicron said on Sunday that symptoms are "extremely mild" so far.
Prior to this announcement, international travelers needed to provide a negative COVID test or proof of recovery from the virus before entering the United States. Timing of the test was dependent on a traveler's age and vaccination status.
Biden's newest measures come look days after several of the administration's COVID mandates have been delayed or stopped. On Monday, the federal government announced the postponement of their deadline requiring all government employees to be vaccinated from Nov. 22 to January. Tuesday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop Biden's vaccine requirement for healthcare workers.