The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Wednesday, December 28 that passengers traveling to the US on flights originating in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macau will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test or rapid antigen test prior to boarding their flight. The new requirement will take effect on January 5 at 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time.
Who Requires a COVID Test to Enter to the US?
Per the CDC’s press release, the following passengers will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding a flight to the USA:
- All passengers of any nationality or citizenship age 2 or older traveling on flights to the USA that originate in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hong Kong, or Macau, regardless of vaccination status.
- All passengers of any nationality or citizenship age 2 or older who are traveling through the PRC as a transit country enroute to the USA, regardless of vaccination status.
- All passengers of any nationality or citizenship age 2 or older traveling on flights that originate in the PRC, Hong Kong, or Macau that connect to other international destinations through the USA, regardless of vaccination status.
- All passengers transiting through Incheon International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport on their way to the USA who have been in the PRC within the last 10 days, regardless of vaccination status.
Which Passengers from the PRC, Hong Kong and Macau are Exempt from the COVID Testing Requirement?
- Passengers younger than 2 years of age.
- Passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19 more than 10 days prior to departure. These individuals can provide documentation of recovery in lieu of a COVID-19 test.
Which Tests Will Be Accepted?
A COVID-19 RT-PCR or rapid antigen test will be accepted, but it must be administered and monitored by a telehealth specialist or licensed healthcare provider.
How Long Will the Testing Requirement Be in Place?
As of this writing, no official end date has been announced. The US CDC is likely to adjust testing requirements based upon infection and transmission rates, and other relevant data. For now, the testing requirement for the abovementioned individuals will remain in place from January 5 onward.
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