A view of the signage leading to one of the testing centers at Heathrow Airport on December 22nd, 2020 in London, England.
Joseph Okpako | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The United States will require people traveling from the UK to test negative for Covid-19 no later than 72 hours prior to departure, the CDC said in a statement late Thursday.
The announcement comes after the UK announced earlier this week that it had identified a new strain of Covid-19 that appears to be spreading faster. The CDC said President Donald Trump will sign the ordinance on Friday, Christmas Day, and the measure will take effect on Monday.
The CDC said passengers would be required to provide airlines with documentation of their laboratory results from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen testing.
The airlines would also have to confirm that the passengers tested negative before boarding, the agency said. They would also have to prevent passengers from boarding if they refuse to take a test.
Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways urged passengers to conduct negative tests before boarding flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. United Airlines also requires negative test results for passengers flying from London Heathrow to their hubs in Newark, New Jersey, Washington DC or Chicago.
The new strain prompted dozens of countries to quickly restrict travel from the UK to prevent the strain from invading their own borders. The US had already restricted entry from the UK in March, with the exception of foreigners who had been in the country in the past two weeks.
However, the World Health Organization said the new variant was also discovered in Australia, Denmark, Italy, Iceland and the Netherlands.
Earlier this week, the CDC suggested that the new strain could already be circulating undetected in the US. While the variant has not yet been found in the country, the CDC found that the US has only sequenced a fraction of Covid infections.