Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022




  • In Politics
  • 2021-12-02 10:05:25Z
  • By Axios
 

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.

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  • The rule will apply regardless of their nationality or vaccination status.

  • "This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant," per a fact sheet from the White House.

  • The administration will also extend masking requirements for those traveling by plane, rail and public transit through March 18.

What they're saying: "Tightening that testing requirement for pre-departure will help catch more cases," a senior administration official said. "Now is the right time to do it, and we can implement it very quickly."

  • There is no plan as of now to implement post-arrival testing or quarantine requirements, the official added.

  • "If additional measures are recommended, if additional measures can be implemented well and are effective, we won't hesitate to take them."

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