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coronavirus crisis

U.S. expected to announce tougher COVID-19 testing requirements for all travelers

Wanting to curb the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the Biden administration is expected to soon announce stricter testing requirements for travelers entering the United States, three federal health officials told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

Under the policy, anyone arriving in the U.S., including citizens and people who are vaccinated, will have to undergo a COVID-19 test one day before boarding their flights. Officials are also debating whether to have all travelers self-quarantine for seven days, even if they test negative for COVID-19 after their arrival, and whether people who do not follow the requirements can be fined, the Post reports. 

As it stands currently, vaccinated travelers coming to the U.S. must be tested no more than three days before a flight departure, while those who are unvaccinated or cannot show proof of full vaccination have to be tested no more than a day before their departure. The new policy could go into effect in a week or two, one U.S. official told the Post.

Researchers are now working to determine whether the Omicron variant, which was first reported in southern Africa, is more transmissible than other variants. Omicron has been identified in at least 19 countries.