(CMR) Airline passengers from the UK who wish to travel to the US will be required to have a negative test for COVID-19 before boarding.
The new requirement, which comes into effect on Monday, was imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent the spread of a new variant of the virus identified in the UK recently.
Under the new rule, passengers will have to show they tested negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours before boarding a flight in the UK, using either a PCR or antigen test. The CDC said airlines are required to deny boarding to passengers who have not taken a test.
Scientists do not yet know if the new strain, which is 70 % more transmissible, is present in the US. However, leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said he would not be surprised if the new variant were already in the US. He said,
“When you have this amount of spread within a place like the UK, you really need to assume that it’s here already. “
Several countries imposed travel bans on flights from the UK after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last Saturday that scientists discovered the new variant.
Several UK areas were also placed under a tier 4 restriction, which prevented people from traveling except for work. Under tier 4 restrictions, non-essential shops, hairdressers, and leisure and entertainment venues were closed.
Also, people who live in tier 4 were ordered to stay at home over Christmas and were not allowed to meet up with other households.
UK's health secretary Matt Hancock said that the restrictions would likely last for months until the vaccine has been rolled out across the UK.