WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — On Thursday, the Biden Administration announced new travel restrictions to and within the U.S., including new COVID-19 testing requirements and extended mast requirements for all domestic flights and public transportation.
Starting early next week, all international travelers will be required to test negative within one day of their departure to the United States, regardless of nationality or vaccination status.
Previously, the U.S. required proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of departure. However, last month, the Biden team updated that policy last month to apply to only vaccinated individuals, with the unvaccinated required to provide a negative test taken with 24 hours of the flight.
Additionally, masks will be required by travelers on all domestic flights and public transit in the U.S., through at least March 18th, the administration said.
“We believe that tightening — and our doctors believe — tightening that testing requirement for pre-departure will help catch more cases — potential cases of people who may be positive before they fly into this country. And so, we think now is the right time to do it, and we can implement it very quickly,” a senior administration official said in a telephonic press briefing on Thursday.
The updated travel restrictions come as the U.S. identified its third case of omicron a highly mutated variant of COVID-19 that is still being evaluated by scientists for its threat to public health.
“This variant is a cause for concern, but not panic,” President Joe Biden said Thursday in remarks made at the National Institutes of Health. “We’re going to fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion,” he added.