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US to require COVID-19 test for arriving travelers; as pandemic worsens, states resist restrictions

US to require COVID-19 test for arriving travelers; as pandemic worsens, states resist restrictions

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Barely a month into a mass vaccination campaign to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration unexpectedly shifted gears Tuesday to speed the delivery of shots. A slow start had triggered widespread concern from states and public health officials.

Anyone flying to the U.S. will soon need to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19, health officials announced Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement expands on a similar one announced late last month for passengers coming from the United Kingdom.

COVID is already widespread in the U.S., with more than 22 million cases reported to date, including more than 375,000 deaths. The new measures are designed to try to prevent travelers from bringing in newer forms of the virus that scientists say can spread more easily.

The CDC order is to take effect in about two weeks, on Jan. 26. It requires air passengers to get a COVID-19 test within three days before their flight departs to the U.S., and to provide written proof of the test result to the airline. Travelers can also provide documentation that they had the infection in the past and recovered.

Airlines are ordered to stop passengers from boarding if they don’t have proof of a negative test or a prior infection.

In other developments:

  • State leaders are sounding a different tune in 2021 on decisions over imposing restrictions on businesses during the deadliest period for the pandemic. Governors from both parties are resisting lockdowns amid fears that their battered economies can't endure much more.
  • The vaccine rollout is gaining new steam. More states are expanding the line for the COVID-19 shots, and the Trump administration took a step toward increasing supply and adding new age groups.
  • Within a span of about 24 hours, three House Democrats announced they tested positive for COVID-19, prompting concern that last week’s insurrection at the Capitol has also turned into a super-spreader event threatening the health of lawmakers and their staffs.
  • American tourists are still flocking to beaches in Mexico and the Caribbean despite the resurgence of the virus and soaring death toll. The Mexican state that's home to Cancun received nearly 1 million tourists at the close of 2020 and start of the new year. Nearly half of them are from the U.S.
  • With four games called off this week already and more teams dealing with virus-related issues, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association enacted additional rules Tuesday in the hope of keeping the season going safely.

Virus by the numbers

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