Starting Monday, the U.S. will require all air passengers coming from the U.K. to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure, the CDC announced late Thursday night.
In a statement, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said President Donald Trump will sign the order Christmas Day, and it will become effective Dec. 28.
The new restrictions are a response to the discovery of a new variant of COVID-19 that may be 70% more transmissible than previous variants.
“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. “This new order is consistent with the measures that have been taken so far to increase our ability to detect and contain COVID-19 proactively and aggressively.”
Trump in March restricted travel of foreign nationals coming from the U.K. due to the coronavirus, reducing air travel between the U.S. and U.K. by about 90%.
Another more contagious COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa. Health officials believe the new coronavirus vaccines will be effective against both new strains, and there is no evidence that the new strains are any deadlier.