No entry into the US without negative Covid-19 test, authorities order

Tuesday January 26 2021
Covid-19 test.

The US State Department says nobody will be allowed into the country without a negative Covid-19 test result. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


The US government on Tuesday launched a Covid-19 culling rule, requiring all arrivals from abroad to have a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed to enter its territory.

The US Department of State and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said all travellers will, starting January 26, be required to show proof of a negative test, or at least evidence of recovery from the virus, in one of President Joe Biden’s initial plans to keep infections low. The order will apply to all air passengers two years or older.

“This order applies to both foreign nationals and US citizens,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement on Monday night.

“If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than 3 days before you travel by air into the United States (US) and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel),” the US CDC said in a statement on Monday night.

Earlier, the CDC had required passengers to test on arrival and isolate at least for a week after arriving on US soil. The new order now means passengers will not be allowed to board US-bound flights without proof of negative tests.

The US has the most Covid-19 patients in the world. It has registered more than 421,000 deaths from Covid-19 complications out of the more than 25.3 million positive cases in its territory so far.


The country has launched a vaccination campaign targeting health workers and the most vulnerable.

President Biden said last week the pandemic reflects America’s biggest challenger and admitted the country was entering the toughest season.

“Few people in our nation's history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we're in now – [a] once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country. It's taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II.

“With unity, we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus,” Biden said on inauguration day on January 20 in Washington.

Meanwhile, the US is advising its citizens against non-essential travel abroad.

“You could have difficulty accessing a test. Testing availability and turnaround times vary widely around the world. Check the US Embassy website for your planned destination(s) for information about testing options. What plan do you have to ensure you can get a test that meets the requirement in order to come home on time?” the State Department said, warning travellers they could also face financial challenges to care for themselves should they get infected abroad.

“The State Department and the CDC continue to strongly recommend US citizens reconsider travel abroad, and postpone all non-essential travel. If you must travel overseas, you should review the entire State Department Travel Advisory for your destination(s) on and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( to receive important updates from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.”