Towards stricter testing procedures for entering the United States

Washington wants stricter testing requirements for travelers entering the United States, and is considering establishing a quarantine upon arrival in the United States, according to health officials, who are concerned about the spread of the Omicron variant.

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US President Joe Biden could formally announce these measures on Thursday, and he is due to present his strategy for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic this winter.

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the country’s main federal public health agency, said it is working to reduce the time frame for a one-day test before boarding a plane, for all passengers, regardless of their vaccination status.

Currently, the deadline is three days for people who have been vaccinated. It’s already a day for unvaccinated Americans, or unvaccinated foreign minors (unvaccinated foreign adults cannot enter the United States at all).

Rochelle Wallinsky, director of the CDC, said Tuesday that the health agency is also considering measures “related to post-arrival screening and voluntary quarantine.”

According to the Washington Post, the government plans to make testing mandatory within three to five days of arriving in the area, which is only currently recommended.

Above all, and from the same source, the administration is also working to establish a seven-day quarantine for all travelers on their return, including Americans. The American newspaper indicates the possibility of imposing fines on violators of this procedure, which promises to provoke controversy if it sees the light.

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US President Joe Biden also said on Tuesday that the US would weigh its policy of closing borders “week after week” against the new alternative. Washington has already banned people from eight South African countries from entering the United States, following the O’Micron report.

The latter, already present in about 20 countries, has not yet been discovered in the United States, where the delta variant is still very dominant.

But Omicron worries experts because it contains several mutations that potentially make it more contagious, and especially likely more resistant to the immunity conferred by vaccines. Studies are underway to determine if and to what extent this is really the case, but the first results should only be available in the coming weeks.

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