The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that all travelers coming from the United Kingdom must present a negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours before taking a flight to the U.S.
The new mandate comes after a new variant of the coronavirus spread across England. So far, the new variant, which contains 17 mutations, appears more transmissible and harder to control. England reported a new record of confirmed COVID-19 cases, now reaching more than 2.1 million cases on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
This move by the CDC falls short of an all-out ban to U.K. travelers that other countries, including Canada and many European nations, have implemented following news of the variant’s outbreak.
This decision follows an executive order signed by President Trump on March 14 that suspended the entry of foreign nationals who visited the U.K. in the previous 14 days. That reduced air travel between the two countries to about 90%.
“This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel,” the CDC said in a statement.
Under these new rules, passengers must get a viral test that can detect current infections within three days of their flight. Travelers must then provide airlines with documentation of their results. The CDC order is set to be signed Christmas Day, and will become effective Dec. 28.
The CDC’s actions establish a nationwide standard on testing requirements for U.K. travelers. Prior to the agency’s mandate, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pressed Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Delta to require negative COVID-19 tests before a departure to the U.S.