Travellers to the United States and the United Kingdom will need to present negative coronavirus tests to be granted entry into those countries, under expanded testing requirements.
- From January 26, nearly all air travellers to the US must show a negative test within three days of their flight to the US
- UK visitors arriving by boat, plane or train will also need to have recently tested negative to COVID-19
- Passengers transiting through the US do not need to be tested
Under rules taking effect on January 26, nearly all air travellers to the US — including its own citizens — must show a negative test within three days of their flight to the US and provide proof of the test result to the airline, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Travellers can also provide documentation that they had an infection in the past and recovered.
Meanwhile, the British Government said that starting from next week it would require people entering England to present a negative COVID-19 test result on arrival.
The measure was introduced to protect against new strains of coronavirus from other countries, the British Government said.
US follows Canadian testing measures
All travellers to the US aged two and older must comply with the new CDC measures, except passengers who are only transiting through the country.
The CDC will also consider waivers of testing requirements for airlines flying to countries with little or no testing capacity.
The order broadened a requirement imposed on December 28 for travellers arriving from the UK, where a more transmissible variant of the virus was circulating.
Officials briefed on the matter said US public health officials had essentially given up winning approval until president-elect Joe Biden took office.
Canada imposed similar rules for nearly all international arrivals starting January 7, as did many other countries.
UK decision to stop global spread of new strains
Passengers travelling to England by boat, plane or train will have to take a test up to 72 hours before their travel date, the Transport Ministry said.
The devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have rolled out similar measures.
“We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.
Exemptions to the new testing requirement rule would be offered to transport workers, children under 11, crews and people travelling from countries where tests are not available, the Government said.
Passengers will be subject to a fine of 500 pounds ($880) if they fail to comply with the new regulations.
Britain’s airline industry said it recognised the need to act to introduce pre-departure testing but only as a short-term, emergency measure.
The new rule would not apply to the Common Travel Area, which includes England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.