CDC to require negative COVID-19 test for all US-bound passengers

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require everyone flying into the U.S. to have a negative COVID-19 test starting Tuesday, Jan. 26, to more efficiently protect the health of Americans.

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The CDC signed a new order on Tuesday, Jan. 12, that requires travelers to get tested three days before their flight into the U.S. and provide proof of their negative results to the airline.

The airline must deny boarding if a passenger does not provide proof of a negative test or refuses to take a test altogether.

The passenger will also be required to take a post-arrival test three to five days later and stay home for seven days after their trip has concluded.

“It’s an effort to try and control the importation of disease and also to reduce the spread of disease here in the United States,” said Dr. Steven Hankins, lead coordinator of Public Health and Medical Services at the Hawaii Emergency Medical Agency.

Hankins said, the new pre-travel test requirement could stop additional strains from coming in even though some of the new COVID-19 strains have already made it to some states.

The Department of Health said Hawaii has not seen any new strains of the COVID-19 virus yet. Hankins said, Hawaii’s health system could be crippled quickly if new, particularly contagious strains of the virus get in.

“Because it can be passed more easily, that increased amount of spread can lead to those pressures on our healthcare system (and) rapid increases of cases that can then lead to impacts in terms of hospitalizations and unfortunately, eventually deaths,” said Hankins.

Hawaiian Airlines said, it is reviewing the CDC order and will let people know what the new entry requirements are.

“We support the general principle of pre-travel testing for international arrivals as a substitute for quarantine or entry restrictions.”   

Hawaiian Airlines

Aviation expert Peter Forman said, there are pros and cons to needing to show a COVID-19 test before traveling to the U.S.

“If everybody on the airplane was tested within 72 hours, then you’re going to feel good on the airplane,” said Forman. “I think the negatives, the biggest negative is determining if the country or the departure point is going to have sufficient testing available that’s acceptable.”

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