US to require visitors to prove they are Covid-free
New York - All visitors flying to the US will be required from January 26 to prove they are free of Covid-19 as the nation struggles with a surge in coronavirus cases amid fears of a more contagious version of the diseases invading it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
People coming to the US will have to show paper or electronic proof that they tested negative for the disease within three days of their arrival under the order issued by CDC Director Robert Redfield on Tuesday.
A requirement for Covid-19 tests is already in force for passengers flying to New York under a voluntary agreement negotiated with airlines by the state's Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"Before departure to the US, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 days post-travel, will help slow the spread of Covid-19 within US communities from travel-related infections," the CDC said about the nationwide regulation.
Airlines will have to check the test result or "documentation of recovery" of all passengers before they board flights to the US and deny seats to those without proof or who refuse to take the test, it said.
Redfield said: "Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."
The negative test requirement comes after complaints from New York Governor Cuomo who has said that the federal government should ban travel from Britain because of the Covid-19 strain from there that is said to be 70 percent more contagious than the strain that is now widely prevalent in the US.
Under rules introduced last month, travellers from Britain are required to quarantine themselves once they reach New York under orders from city Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has deployed the sherrif to enforce the quarantine order by visiting the homes or hotels of those coming from Britain and imposing fines of $1 000 (about R15 300) for each day they violate the order.
Another more contagious version of Covid-19 has been found in South Africa and there are possibly other variants also.