US will require negative COVID tests from ALL international travelers

US will require negative COVID-19 tests from ALL international travelers in 11th hour attempt to stop influx of ‘super-covid’ variants that have already infected at least 82 Americans

  • The US will require all international travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, sources close to the decision told the Wall Street Journal 
  • It is meant to prevent further case surges and the arrival of more contagious ‘super-covid’ variants – but 82 Americans already have the one from the UK 
  • The Trump administration already implemented the testing requirement for travelers from the UK 
  • Travelers coming from the UK (including Americans) are advised to self-isolate if they test positive, but the government offers no help 
  • The same will now likely to apply to covid-positive travelers coming from any other country  
  • More contagious variants have also emerged in South Africa and Brazil but have not been detected in the US yet 
  • CDC says it is ramping up viral genome sequencing required to detect new variants but it is checking far fewer samples than the UK and other nations 

The CDC will start requiring all international travelers coming into the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country, sources close to the decision told the Wall Street Journal.  

Global testing requirements would be an expansion on a Trump administration policy barring UK travelers without a negative test from entry, which was announced on December 24. 

The new rule will  apply to Americans returning home from abroad, as well as visitors. 

Under the requirement for travelers coming from the UK, the government offers no assistance in the event that you test positive. The CDC simply advises that you will be barred from boarding planes and should self-isolate for at least 10 days in the UK. The same will almost certainly now apply to people traveling from any other country. 

CDC’s new order would likely go into effect on January 26, according to the WSJ.  

The restrictions are aimed at keeping out new, more contagious ‘super-covid’ variants like those that emerged in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.

But the US government is trying to slam the barn door after the horse has already bolted. 

Already, at least 82 Americans in 10 states – Colorado, California, Florida, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Connecticut, Indiana and Minnesota – are infected with the 70 percent more infectious UK ‘super-covid’ variant, known as B117. 

No cases of the other variants have been reported so far – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t here. 

The US will expand its requirement for negative COVID-19 tests from travelers from the UK to apply to all international travelers, sources told the Wall Street Journal (Pictured: Los Angeles International Airport is the first in the US to offer onsite COVID-19 testing) 

If they were, it’s far from certain that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would know. The agency says it is stepping up the number of covid-positive samples it checks for hallmarks of the new variants, but weeks may pass between the submission of a sample by a state and results returned by the CDC. 

Weeks, during which a more contagious variant could be taking hold and spreading like wildfire in the US. 

In fact, the first identified case of the B117 variant in the US was in a person with no recent travel history, in Colorado. 

They and fellow National Guard member who worked together in nursing home both had the variant, and it’s unclear where they picked it up. 

The state’s cases of B117 coronavirus have now risen to three. 

In the other nine states in the US, the origin stories of the UK variant are a mixed lot.  

Too little, too late: The UK ‘super-covid’ variant is already in 10 US states and has infected at least 82 Americans, according to tracking 

Both cases in Connecticut were in people who had recently traveled – one to Ireland, the other to New York. In Pennsylvania, the person with the new variant had a ‘known travel exposure.’ 

But three people linked to a Saratoga Springs, New York, jewelry store had no recent history of travel. 

In these cases, it’s clear that a variant is already spreading in the community, not simply being imported from outside the US. 

Minnesota health officials recently reveals that person there who has the UK variant initially tested positive on December 18 – before the US testing requirement for UK travelers went into effect. 

The requirement was unequivocally too little, too late. 

Already there are two other variants of concern spreading globally. Scores of countries banned travelers coming from South Africa altogether over the past few weeks, the US was conspicuously silent.   

Still, the decision to require testing for all international travelers comes before any cases of the South African or Brazilian variants have been found in the US.  


The new ‘super COVID’ variant first detected in the UK is continuing to sweep across the U.S. as more cases have been identified. 

As of Tuesday morning, 82 infections have been detected in 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas.

California currently has the highest number of reported cases with 34 in total – 32 in San Diego County and two in San Bernadino County – and Florida is close behind with 22 cases.

New York has the third highest number of cases with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) confirming in a call with reporters on Tuesday that eight more cases had been identified in the state, bringing the total up to 12.

The strain, known as B 1.1.7., is feared to be up to 70 percent more transmissible and to spread more easily among children. 

What’s more, a Minnesota case of the new variant indicates it may have been circulating in the U.S. far earlier than previously believed.

The positive sample comes from a patient that was taken on December 18 and uploaded to the global genomic database GISAID.   

With other variants also confirmed in South Africa and Japan, many have criticized U.S. health agencies for failing to adequately detect and track new strains.

Additionally, health experts say the variants provide cause for the Trump administration to ramp up nationwide vaccination efforts, which have been lagging since the rollout started in December.   

It comes as new interactive maps show how U.S. hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, as the number of people admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) with the disease continues to increase.  

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