The rise of the omicron variant of the coronavirus has forced the United States health authorities to consider new requirements for travelers. Washington is studying imposing tests on everyone who enters the country regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not and is even considering the possibility of ordering a mandatory seven-day quarantine, he says. The Washington Post. The official announcement will be made by President Joe Biden this Thursday in the middle of his strategy to control the pandemic for the winter.
The document proposes that all those who enter the country, which just reopened its borders on November 8, present a negative coronavirus test dated one day before the trip. This would be a slight modification to the rules that are in force now, where vaccinates can present a PCR or antigen test done up to three days before admission. Under the new requirements, these analyzes would have to be 24 hours in advance only. The authors of the CDC are also considering the proposal that travelers undergo a second examination, already in the United States, between three and five days after their arrival.
The measures described are part of a draft prepared by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English), which is being reviewed by the Administration authorities. “The CDC is working to modify the current mandate of travel requirements to adapt it to what we know about the new variant,” said Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the center, who confirmed that the window for testing will be reduced. “A new mandate will require all visitors to the United States to undergo a test one day before their arrival … This will reinforce the protocols that are in force, including that international travelers have their two doses of vaccine,” he said. added. The requirement will take effect in a week or two, authorities estimate.
The Post, who cites three health authorities who are familiar with the document, affirms that the Government is studying imposing fines or sanctions on those who do not comply with these requirements. This would be the first time in the entire pandemic that the United States has enacted punishment for travelers. This would need to be consulted with the Department of Justice and would be a controversial measure open to much litigation. This Tuesday, for example, a federal judge appointed by Donald Trump blocked Biden’s mandate that requires the vaccine for all healthcare workers. The court decision has arrived days after it came into effect, on December 6.
Outside of the draft analyzed, but also discussed by experts, is the proposal for a seven-day quarantine. This, says the newspaper, would be mandatory even for those who show a negative test. This fragment would be included in the final draft on Thursday if it wins support within the health authorities.
The United States on Friday joined the list of nations that have closed their borders to flights from eight countries in southern Africa, where the new variant of the virus has been identified. These are Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, and South Africa. This Tuesday, the Netherlands confirmed that it had already registered cases of the virus mutation before it was found in South Africa. At least 10 European countries have patients infected by omicron. Canada has reported a couple.
President Biden said in recent days that the rise of the new variant was cause for “concern, but not for panic.” The president informed the population that the best protection available at the moment is to inject the booster of the vaccine. More than 80% of adults in the country have received at least one puncture. About 60% have the complete pattern.