According to the CDC’s order, airlines must comply with these rules in order to obtain permission to drop off passengers in the United States.
What kind of test do you need?
The CDC stipulates that tests that can detect ongoing infections need to give negative results by picking up fragments of the pathogen itself. There are two types of tests in this category: molecular tests (including PCR tests) and antigen tests. (Antibody tests that can only determine if someone has been infected in the past are not counted.)
A molecular test looks for the genetic material of the virus, the segment of RNA. The most common molecular tests rely on a proven technique called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This is the gold standard for infectious disease diagnosis. PCR tests can be expensive and require samples to be routed to the lab, which can take several days for results to be returned. Experts are advised to plan ahead when choosing this type of test.
There are several quick molecular tests that can be done from start to finish in minutes in the clinic. These include Abbott’s IDNow test. It is considered less accurate than a PCR-based test, but it responds faster.
Antigen tests look for coronavirus proteins or fragments of antigens. They tend to be less accurate than molecular tests, and a lack of virus makes it harder to find the virus. However, most antigen tests can be done very quickly and cheaply, and the results take only a few minutes.
Certain antigen tests have been cleared for use only in symptomatic individuals and can lead to inaccurate results more often when used to screen healthy individuals.
Certain tests may not be available depending on the country of departure of the traveler. As a result, these new rules can make it very difficult for people to enter the United States. Tests are usually provided through a healthcare provider or community testing site that can be deployed through a tourist office or a local healthcare provider. Some airports, such as London’s Heathrow Airport, offer on-site coronavirus testing. In addition, several airlines, such as American Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, and United Airlines, are proposing to help customers in certain countries arrange tests. For example, Delta has partnered with the Mayo Clinic and national health authorities in multiple countries to facilitate the testing and travel process.
Negative coronavirus test required for travelers entering the United States
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