The Biden administration’s latest COVID-19 rule went into effect Monday and requires all international travelers to test negative for the CCP virus within 24 hours of departure to the United States regardless of vaccination status.
“All air passengers 2 years or older with a flight departing to the US from a foreign country at or after 12:01am EST (5:01am GMT) on December 6, 2021, are required show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.
The measures were announced by President Joe Biden on Dec. 2 in a bid to “tighten pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status,” according to a statement from the White House.
According to rules published last week, the CDC rationalized the new order by saying that it’s not clear whether the recently named Omicron COVID-19 variant is more infectious, can breach COVID-19 antibodies, or whether it can cause more severe disease. Already, about one-third of U.S. states have confirmed Omicron cases as of Sunday, according to an Epoch Times analysis.
“As the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads, it has new opportunities to change (mutate) and become more difficult to control,” said the CDC in its order. “While it is known and expected that viruses change through mutation leading to the emergence of new variants, the emergent Omicron variant is particularly concerning and of critical significance for this Amended Order.”
Now, all passengers must produce a viral test “collected no more than 1 calendar day before their flight’s departure to meet the requirements of this Amended Order,” the order reads. The lone exception is individuals “who present a valid Documentation of Recovery,” the CDC said.
The new restriction is a “reduction from the previous 3-day window for fully vaccinated passengers, will provide less opportunity to develop infection with the Omicron variant prior to arrival into the United States,” the order continued.
Days before the rule was published, the United States implemented travel restrictions to eight southern African nations, where the Omicron variant was first reportedly discovered last month. Other nations, including the European Union, Japan, and Israel, have imposed travel restrictions over the variant.
Some public health officials, including South African doctors, have said that the that Omicron strain patients have presented “extremely mild” symptoms so far. A preprint study, which hasn’t been peer-reviewed, published several days ago also found Omicron may have picked up genetic material from a type of non-COVID-19 coronavirus that causes the common cold.
A team of researchers led by firm Nference theorized that an Omicron insertion mutation may have developed in a person simultaneously infected with the COVID-19-causing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus—also known as the SARS-CoV-2—and the HCoV-229E coronavirus, which can cause the common cold.