United States

US to tighten air travel restrictions amid Omicron worldwide concerns

13:06, 01 December 2021
US to tighten air travel restrictions amid Omicron worldwide concerns Photo: armeniafly.com

The US government plans to increase the air travel restrictions regarding those who enter the country by shortening the time period of COVID-19 test to one day before arrival. The travelers will have to conduct tests a day before arrival and one right after, regardless whether an individual was inoculated or not.

The change of the rules which are currently under consideration will have an effect on everyone, including residents of the US. Potential alteration of the travel rules was under negotiation Tuesday night but the decision hasn’t come yet. 

However, the CDC confirmed in a statement that the process of revising the rules is ongoing and it would likely be set up amid fears of the new Omicron variant which is considered to be more contagious that the previous ones and has been classified by the WHO as “of concern.”

“A revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States. This strengthens already robust protocols in place for international travel, including requirements for foreign travelers to be fully vaccinated,” a CDC spokesman said.

To date the travelers can show the tests which were made within a period of three days before departure to the US, but soon the period might be reduced to 24 hours.

A White House official said that the compulsory quarantine for the arriving residents hasn’t been considered.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said that currently four main airports in the US are being vigilantly monitored by CDC for the new strain among the arriving passengers and added that the surveillance would be extended.

On Monday, the US authorities imposed a travel ban on South Africa and seven bordering countries prohibiting travelers from these regions to enter the States, except residents who were obliged to conduct COVID-19 testing and provide the results of it.

President of the US Joe Biden was asked how long would the new measures be in power, and replied: “Well, it kind of depends.”

Biden went on saying that the time is needed to identify the extent of danger the Omicron strain poses, the lethality the virus can cause and what tools the government has to control the spreading of the new variant, adding it might take weeks to determine what the country has to cope with.