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Biden Administration Making Covid Norms Stricter

Top Sources familiar with the discussions told CNN that US government officials are considering requiring everyone who enters the country to be tested for Covid-19 the day before their flight, and that all travellers, including US citizens and permanent residents, be tested again after returning home, regardless of vaccination status. No final decisions have been made as of Tuesday night, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that the agency is trying to alter testing standards for travellers as a result of the new Omicron variant.

The necessary testing for all foreign flight travellers will be shortened to one day before departure to the United States under a revised directive. This reinforces already strong international travel standards, such as the requirement that foreign tourists be fully vaccinated. Vaccinated travellers are currently obliged to test three days before to their departure. The proposed change would reduce that timeframe to to one day. According to a White House official, a forced quarantine for US citizens returning home is not being considered.

The administration is continuing to assess the best ways to protect Americans from Covid-19, particularly when additional information about the Omicron variant becomes available, including the possibility of more strict testing requirements for overseas travel. There are now policy debates taking place across the government, but no final decisions have been made.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters earlier Tuesday that the agency was looking into ways to make international travel as safe as possible, including closer pre-departure testing and considerations for additional post-arrival testing and self-quarantines.

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