US and UK require pre-departure Covid-19 test for all international arrivals

Stock photo by Isaac Struna for UnSplash

Heading back to the United States or United Kingdom? You’ll need to get a Covid-19 test first. Both countries are now requiring passengers arriving to the US or UK get tested for Covid-19 no more than 72 hours before the flight departs. Passengers will also need to show proof of a negative result before bordering.

The new travel regulations go into effort on Friday in the UK and on January 26 in the US.

United Kingdom

Along with proof of a negative Covid-19 result, passengers will need to complete a passenger locator form online before arriving in the UK. Passengers arriving from countries that are not on the country’s travel corridor list must self-isolate for 10 days.

People arriving in the UK by boat, airplane or train will have to take a Covid-19 test no more than 3 days before departure. Border Force officers will do spot checks and passengers who don’t comply with the new regulations will be fined £500.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says the measure is to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa.

“We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of Covid-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions.”

United States

The Center for Disease Control issued an order yesterday requiring all air passengers arriving in the US from abroad to be tested for Covid-19 no more than 72 hours before departure. Passengers need to provide proof of a negative result before bordering the flight. The order goes into effect on January 26.

For those who recently recovered from Covid-19, the CDC doesn’t recommend getting tested again, as long as the traveller doesn’t have coronavirus symptoms. The traveller can provide “documentation of recovery,” issued by a public health official or healthcare provider, when bordering the flight to the US.

The CDC recommends that travellers get tested again around 3 to 5 days after travel and to stay at home to self-isolate for at least a week.


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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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