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US introduces new rules for International Travel

Under the Biden presidency, the US is introducing sweeping new public health measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. An executive order signed by President Joe Biden this week will require domestic and international travelers to abide by a new set of rules that include mask-wearing, physical distancing, timely testing and quarantine.

The executive order, backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), comes into effect on January 26 and requires travelers arriving on international flights to present a negative COVID-19 result from a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. International travelers will be required to quarantine on arrival, while masks will be mandated on many domestic trains, planes and buses.

The testing requirement was introduced by the previous administration, but quarantine was only a recommendation. Now it’s mandatory, with the CDC proposing a seven-day quarantine for people arriving in the US from nearly all countries. The executive order says air travelers must comply with applicable CDC guidelines concerning international travel “including recommended periods of self-quarantine.” It does not explain how quarantine will be enforced.

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“In addition to wearing masks, everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to test before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America,” Biden said on Thursday. The newly-elected president added he was signing a new order “to extend masking requirements on interstate travel, like on trains, planes and buses”, an order that is now in effect.

The new administration is also in talks with Canada and Mexico to implement new public health guidelines at the land borders. Practically all non-essential travel with Canada and Mexico is currently on hold until February 21.

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