The U.S. Government has announced that all international travelers flying to the United States will need to test negative one day before their departure, regardless of their vaccination status or nationality.
This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of protection as scientists continue to study the Omicron variant, President Joe Biden said while announcing an action plan to battle Covid in the winter season.
The United States will tighten pre-departure testing protocols from next week.
The Administration will continue to require masking during domestic and international public travel as well as in transportation hubs such as airports or indoor bus terminals. The Transportation Security Administration will extend its implementing orders to maintain these requirements through March 18.
Fines will continue to be doubled from their initial levels for noncompliance with the masking requirements – with a minimum fine of $500, and up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.
Last month, the Biden Administration had implemented stronger international travel protocols, including requirements for foreign travelers to be fully vaccinated.
Last week, after the World Health Organization (WHO) named the Omicron variant as a Variant of Concern, the U.S. Government imposed new restrictions on travel from 8 southern African countries.
In his address Thursday, Biden also pledged to deliver 200 million more vaccine doses to countries in need within the next 100 days. These doses are being delivered for free with no strings attached. The U.S. is also the first country to negotiate a deal with J&J and the COVAX facility to send vaccines directly to humanitarian settings and conflict zones to vaccinate displaced people.
With 140875 new cases reporting on Thursday, the total number of Covid infections in the United States rose to 48,832,268, as per the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
An additional 3800 Covid deaths on the same day took the total number of people who died due to the pandemic to 782,106. This is the highest casualty toll recorded in a single day this year.
39,389,646 people have so far recovered from the disease in the country.
More than 41 million Americans, or 21 percent of the population, have already received a booster shot.
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