What do the new US travel restrictions in effect mean for you?


(WPRI) — If you’re returning abroad to the United States anytime soon, make sure you know where to get a COVID-19 test in your travels.

Effective Monday, the United States is requiring all inbound international travelers to show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before departure, regardless of nationality or vaccination status.

White House officials hope the tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of protection, as scientists continue to assess the omicron variant.

Part of the assessment includes figuring out if the omicron is more transmissible than other COVID-19 variants.

The delta variant, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week was still driving 99% of the country’s cases, is two times more contagious than the original COVID-19 variant, alpha.

At least 17 states have reported omicron-related infections, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, and many of the confirmed cases were found in vaccinated people who reported having mild symptoms.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, spoke about the latest data on omicron during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

“Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it,” Fauci said. “But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness, comparable to delta.”

In addition to stricter requirements for international travel, Biden says masks will still be required on planes, trains, buses, and inside terminals and hubs in the U.S. through March 18.

According to Biden, fines will continue to be doubled from their initial levels for noncompliance with the masking requirements – a minimum fine of $500 and fines of up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.

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