U.S. Likely to Require International Travelers — Including Citizens — to Show Negative COVID Test

The United States government is expected to soon require all international travelers flying into the country to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight at their departure point, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ report, published Tuesday, states that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to issue the new travel order soon, after weeks of discussion between federal agencies and the White House's coronavirus task force.

The order — which includes U.S. citizens returning from abroad — is expected to go into effect Jan. 26, the WSJ reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The expansion of the CDC travel orders comes less than a month after a new rule that travelers must show proof of a negative test result within three days of flying into the U.S. from the United Kingdom. That order came amid concerns of a faster-spreading COVID-19 variant on the rise in the U.K. (The new strain has since been identified in the U.S. as well).

Per the CDC's guidelines, Americans are advised to avoid traveling to the U.K..

Back in March 2020, President Donald Trump signed a mandate that restricted the entry of foreign citizens who had been to the U.K. within 14 days.

After the new strain of COVID-19 began to spread more rapidly in the country, the European Union placed a travel ban on the U.K. The U.S. followed suit implementing new restrictions on traveling into the U.S. from the U.K. that went into effect on December 28, and require travelers to get a viral test within 72 hours of their flight and show their results to their airline. The CDC says not to travel while awaiting test results.

Despite continuing spikes in cases across the U.S., and the CDC urging against it, Americans are still traveling. The day before Christmas Eve saw the most airport travelers in a single day since March. More than 1.1 million people were screened at airports on Dec. 23, the Transportation Security Administration said.

The CDC previously released guidelines for holiday celebration this year that included urging people to stay "at home with the people who live with you."

As of Tuesday, the U.S. has reported over 22.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, while at least 379,020 people have died. Worldwide, there have been more than 91.3 million cases and more than 1.9 million deaths related to the virus, according to the New York Times' coronavirus database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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