CDC to require negative COVID-19 test for air travelers from the United Kingdom to the U.S.
President Trump is taking another step to protect the health of the American people by requiring air passengers arriving from the United Kingdom (U.K.) to test negative, via PCR or Antigen test, no more than 72 hours before departure from the U.K. to the United States, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
The public health authorities in the United Kingdom recently announced the discovery of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and preliminary analysis in the U.K. suggests that this new variant may be up to 70% more transmissible than previously circulating variants, the CDC said.
On March 14, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamationexternal icon to suspend the entry of foreign nationals who visited the United Kingdom in the past 14 days. This has reduced air travel to the U.S. from the U.K. by about 90%. This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel. The order is consistent with existing CDC testing guidance plus the HHS, U.S. Department of Transportation, and Department of Homeland Security joint guidance in the “Runway to Recoverypdf iconexternal icon” document, the CDC said.
This new order is consistent with the measures that have been taken so far to increase our ability to detect and contain COVID-19 proactively and aggressively, the CDC said.
The CDC said, passengers are required to get a viral test (i.e., a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight from the U.K. to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (in hard copy or electronic) to the airline. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before they board. If a passenger chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
This order was signed by CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D., on December 25, 2020 and becomes effective on December 28, 2020.
“In effort to strengthen existing travel protocols with our partners at United, beginning Monday, December 28, all United customers with flights originating in the U.K. will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 72 hours of departure for incoming flights to Newark Liberty International Airport. As we continue to experience a second wave of COVID-19 cases, it’s critical that we take any and all precautions to mitigate the potential for further transmission. While New Jersey continues to strongly discourage all non-essential travel at this time, if unavoidable, international travelers should adhere to CDC guidance for pre- and post-flight testing and the recommended self-quarantine period,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said.
“Beginning December 28, United customers traveling from London Heathrow to Chicago, Newark, Washington Dulles and San Francisco will be required to present proof a negative COVID-19 test taken no later than 72 hours prior to departure. The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority. United has been a leader in enacting new policies and innovations designed to keep employees and passengers safer when traveling including mask mandates and requiring customers to complete a “Ready-to-Fly” checklist before the flight acknowledging they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days and do not have COVID-related symptoms,” United Airlines said.
- This impacts customers over the age of 5 originating travel from the UK; individuals connecting in LHR onto a United flight from another country would be exempt.
- For the month of December, United is operating 4 daily flights from London Heathrow to its hubs in Chicago, Newark, Washington and San Francisco.
- In January 2021, United will operate 2 daily flights from London Heathrow to its hubs in Newark and Chicago.
- Customers will be asked to show proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test (such as PCR or LAMP), or antigen test, taken within 72 hours prior to departure from London Heathrow.
Same-day, pre-flight rapid tests are also available for ticketed passengers at the Collinson testing center located in Terminal 2 at London Heathrow.