Friday, January 21

The US will tighten requirements for international travel

The government of the president Joe Biden plans to take steps in the coming days to tighten diagnostic testing requirements for international travelers heading to USA, whether vaccinated or not, amid the spread of the new omicron variant of coronavirus.

Precise diagnostic testing protocols are still being detailed ahead of Biden’s scheduled speech Thursday, in which he will outline his government’s plans to control the COVID-19 pandemic during the winter season, according to a senior official who added that some details may still change.

Among the policies that are being analyzed is the requirement that all travelers arriving at USA by air undergo diagnostic tests for COVID-19 in the 24 hours prior to their flight. Currently, those with a complete vaccination schedule can present a diagnostic test carried out three days before the trip.

“CDC is evaluating how to make international travel as safe as possible, including diagnostic tests closer to the flight and considerations around additional post-arrival testing and voluntary quarantines,” said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doctor Rochelle Walensky.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity so that he could reveal the government’s plans before their formal announcement, said options to consider also include post-arrival diagnostic tests or even voluntary quarantines.

The anticipated measure would come just weeks after the United States fully opened its borders to foreign travelers with a full vaccination schedule, on November 8.

Much is still unknown about the new variant – detected in more than 20 countries, but not yet in the United States – such as whether it is more contagious, causes more serious disease, or can bypass existing vaccines.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s leading infectious disease expert, said more will be known about the omicron mutation within two to four weeks as scientists grow and analyze laboratory samples of the new variant of the coronavirus. .

In an attempt to reassure the population about the presence of the new variant, Biden said that in his statements next Thursday “I will be presenting a detailed strategy outlining how we are going to fight COVID this winter, not with lockdowns or confinements. , but with large-scale vaccinations, boosters, diagnostic tests and more ”.

When asked by reporters if he will consult with allied governments about any changes to the travel rules, considering that his predecessor Donald Trump came to take world leaders by surprise, Biden said: “Unlike Trump, I do not surprise our allies.” .

Voice of america