In a significant development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said starting from Monday, the U.S. government will require all airline passengers coming from the United Kingdom to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure. All airline passengers coming from the Uk to the US will have to test negative for COVID-19.
The development comes in the wake of a strain emerging of the highly infectious Wuhan coronavirus variant in Britain leading to many countries closing their borders with the country.
The British Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
On Thursday, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines had said, they required all passengers on flights from the UK to the US, to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Late on Thursday, the CDC said passengers will have to test negative for COVID-19 via either a PCR or Antigen test.
While “viruses constantly change through mutation, and preliminary analysis in the UK suggests that this new variant may be up to 70% more transmissible than previously circulating variants,” said the CDC.
In March, U.S. President Donald Trump had suspended the entry of nearly all foreign nationals who visited the United Kingdom in the past 14 days, leading to a drop in air travel between the two countries by nearly 90%.
U.S. airlines have already drastically scaled back flying to the United Kingdom, as well as the rest of Europe.