From January 26, the United States will start requiring all incoming travelers, inclusive of American citizens, to present evidence of a negative coronavirus test. This comes as authorities grapple to contain Covid-19 case surges across the country and weeks of record-high hospitalization numbers.
The country saw its highest daily number of Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday with more than 4,320 fatalities linked to the virus. It was the second time that Washington reported more than 4,000 Covid-19 deaths in a single day, both this month and since the pandemic’s start.
As of Tuesday evening, the U.S. had a total of 22.9 million infections and 381,000 deaths with more than 131,300 Americans hospitalized with the virus, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
The new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now requires international travelers coming into the country to get a viral test within three days of departure and share their negative results with their airline before a flight.
Meanwhile, those who continue to test positive after recovery will need to submit documentation showing they have recovered from the virus to airlines, which are required to verify them. Airlines “must deny boarding” those that decide not to test or provide results, the CDC said.
Travelers are also to get tested again three to five days after arriving in the U.S. as well as quarantine at home for seven days post-travel.“Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said in the statement.
The universal testing decision is also part of efforts by the government to slow the spread of a more contagious variant of the virus, originally found in the United Kingdom, but has now spread to at least six states in the U.S.
It applies to Nigerian travelers as well, many of which travel to the U.S. In 2019, there were approximately 150,000 overseas visitors from Nigeria to America per data from Statista. Going back nine years, an average of 159,069 Nigerians traveled to the U.S.
The African country confirmed 1,270 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, up from 1,244 recorded a day before as it continues to battle the novel disease. Total infections crossed the 100,000 mark on Sunday, January 10, according to data from the Nigeria CDC.
Meanwhile, incoming travelers (including non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents) from Europe, the UK, and China are still barred from entering with or without a negative test.