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As of January 26, Covid testing mandatory for all air travelers into the U.S.

Cancun, Q.R. — UPDATED: Since publication, the CDC has changed their wording to now read that a second test 3 to 5 days after arriving in the United States and the 7 to 10-day post travel stay-at-home quarantine period is now a health recommendation and not mandatory. The update was made by the CDC on January 21.

Original Article: As of January 26, all air travelers into the United States will be required to get a viral test within three days of entering the country. Those same passengers are also required to be tested again 3-5 days after arrival, and stay home for seven days post-travel.

Airlines are responsible for ensuring all passengers are Covid-19 negative. 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, reports the CDC.

The new measure was signed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention January 12, and will be put into effect January 26, 2021.

“As of January 26, the Department of Health of the United States will require that passengers arriving by air undergo a viral test (NAAT or antigen) to determine if they have an ongoing COVID-19 infection 3 days before their flight leaves for the United States,” says the U.S. Consulate in Mexico.

Along with the viral test, air travelers must also provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” says CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, “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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they are expanding their requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States, since testing before and after travel is a critical layer in slowing the introduction and spread of COVID-19.

The CDC says variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world with evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants.