THE United States is going to require all air travellers entering the country to show a negative COVID-19 test performed within one day of departure in an attempt to slow the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new one-day testing requirement would apply to U.S. citizens as well as foreign nationals.
Prior to this new rule, vaccinated international air travelers could present a negative test result obtained within three days from their point of departure.
According to Reuters, the administration is also considering whether to require air travelers to get another COVID-19 test within three to five days after arrival in the United States.
The first reported case of the omicron variant has been identified in the U.S. and according to the CDC, the case was detected in a person in California, an individual who returned from South Africa on November 22. There are currently no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in New York City.
The CDC lists about 80 foreign destinations as having “Level Four,” its highest level of COVID-19 transmission. Americans are discouraged Americans from travelling to those destinations.
As part of his efforts to beat back the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage San Diegans to get vaccinated, Mayor Todd Gloria on Monday, Nov. 29 discussed the City’s Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
Gloria explained that requiring city employees to get vaccinated is “an important and necessary step” to make sure they can provide essential city services while keeping city employees and the public safe as well.
“Simply put, the proposed vaccine mandate for City employees is an issue of public safety for both the community and employees,” Mayor Gloria said in a tweet. “It is also a necessary step in order for the City to be able to efficiently provide the municipal services our residents expect.”
Aside from vaccination, Mayor Gloria said local health officials are closely monitoring the region for the omicron variant of the coronavirus, echoing what President Joe Biden said that the variant is a cause for concern, not panic.
“We’re monitoring it very closely, obviously we have made tremendous progress in pushing back on the delta variant, any new variant is going to capture a lot of our attention and so we’re watching this closely,” Mayor Gloria told NBC News.
NYC officials tells residents to mask up
In New York, city officials on Tuesday, Nov. 30 strongly recommended that all New Yorkers, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor settings in an effort to try and get ahead of a new Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dave Chokshi is anticipating the detection of Omicron in New York “in the coming days, based on what we know about its global spread.”
“We still have a lot to learn about the Omicron variant, but its emergence lends urgency to the importance of the precautions we’ve all become familiar with, particularly vaccination, masking, and testing,” he said. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Dr. Chokshi issued the health advisory and said that while the new variant had not been detected yet in the five boroughs, it has ignited fears of worsening an ongoing surge in cases.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams stressed the importance of working together and thanked the South African scientists for detecting this new variant and immediately alerting the international community.
“I believe that we’re sending a clear message, being sent to New Yorkers that the vaccine is our most potent weapon, but our coordination is a close second to that. And we’re going to have that coordination,” Adams said. “And how we choose to respond as a city, we show our resolve against this virus, to each other and to the rest of the globe.” (Momar G. Visaya/AJPress)