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US to require negative COVID-19 test for air passengers traveling from UK

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 12/25/2020 Charles Ventura, USA TODAY
Customers wearing face covers queue at a TAP Air Portugal check-in desk in the departures hall at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport in west London on December 21, 2020, as a string of countries around the world banned travellers arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a new, more-infectious coronavirus strain. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to chair a crisis meeting Monday as a growing number of countries blocked flights from Britain over a new highly infectious coronavirus strain the UK said was "out of control". (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images) Customers wearing face covers queue at a TAP Air Portugal check-in desk in the departures hall at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport in west London on December 21, 2020, as a string of countries around the world banned travellers arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a new, more-infectious coronavirus strain. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to chair a crisis meeting Monday as a growing number of countries blocked flights from Britain over a new highly infectious coronavirus strain the UK said was "out of control". (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)

The United States will require air passengers traveling from the United Kingdom to provide a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of departure, The Centers for Disease Control announced late Thursday.

The move comes as a growing number of countries banned British travelers amid the rapid spread of a new variant of coronavirus in London and elsewhere. 

Earlier this week, Canada and dozens of other counties announced new restrictions on U.K. travelers after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the coronavirus variant could be 70% more transmissible and is driving an alarmingly rapid spread of infections in London and surrounding areas.

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said earlier this week that while preliminary analysis in the U.K. suggests the new variant is "significantly more transmissible," there is no indication that infections are more severe. Experts have warned, however, that even if the variant is not more lethal, it will likely lead to an increase in infections, hospitalizations and virus-related deaths.

a clock tower in front of a tall building with Big Ben in the background: A British flag flies near the "Big Ben" clock tower of Parliament in London. © Matt Dunham, AP A British flag flies near the "Big Ben" clock tower of Parliament in London.

The order, which President Donald Trump is expected to sign Friday, will take effect Dec. 28.


Video: U.S. won’t require COVID tests for UK travelers -sources (Reuters - US Video Online)

"This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel," the CDC said in a statement. "This new order is consistent with the measures that have been taken so far to increase our ability to detect and contain COVID-19 proactively and aggressively."

The new variant of coronavirus is spread: Here’s what scientists know.

COVID-19 pandemic: More EU nations, Canada ban travel from UK, fearing rapidly spreading coronavirus variant

Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US to require negative COVID-19 test for air passengers traveling from UK

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