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US considering mandatory COVID-19 tests for domestic flyers, CDC official says

The Hill logo The Hill 1/27/2021 John Bowden
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A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official said Tuesday that restrictions requiring travelers to test negative for COVID-19 before flying domestically in the U.S. are being seriously considered.

Reuters reported that the head of the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine said on a call with reporters that the agency is "actively looking" at tightening restrictions amid new variants of the COVID-19 virus spreading in parts of the world and now being reported in the U.S.

There are "conversations that are ongoing and looking at what the types and locations of testing might be," said Marty Cetron, according to the news service. "We're actively looking at it."

The U.S. on Tuesday implemented a policy requiring international travelers to test negative for COVID-19 before arriving in the U.S. There are no current nationwide restrictions on domestic travel, though the CDC has advised for months that nonessential travel be avoided. Some localities, including Washington, D.C., require travelers to test negative before arriving.

"Testing does not eliminate all risk," said CDC Director Robert Redfield last week. "But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."

The U.S. remains a hot spot for COVID-19, with the most cases of any other country. More than 26 million cases have been reported across the nation as well as 425,000 related deaths.

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