Because of worries about a new COVID-19 variant, the administration of Joe Biden will prolong the need for travelers to wear masks on flights, trains and buses, as well as at airports and railway stations, into mid-March, according to people informed on the situation.
On Thursday, according to the sources, the government will make an official declaration extending the restrictions until March 18. The White House and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) did not respond to requests for comment. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) renewed the transportation mask order to January 18 in August.
On Thursday, Biden planned to speak on the United States’ strategy for combating COVID-19 this winter, and the transit mask extension is anticipated to be included in his speech.
In addition, the White House intends to publish additional testing requirements for travelers from other countries. CDC officials revealed late on Tuesday that they are working on implementing stronger COVID-19 testing requirements for flying travelers entering the United States in response to concerns about the Omicron form of avian influenza.
The first known case of the Omicron strain in the United States was verified on Wednesday – a fully vaccinated person in California who returned to the United States from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive seven days later despite having received all necessary vaccinations.
On Monday, the United States prevented the majority of foreign nationals who had traveled to eight nations in southern Africa from entering the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed airlines late on Tuesday that it would force them to send over passenger contact information for all travelers who had traveled to certain countries – and that this information would be sent to state and public health organizations.
All travelers, including those traveling on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-share vehicles, as well as those at transportation hubs such as bus or ferry terminals, train or subway stations, and seaports, are required to wear face masks under the current CDC order, which has been in effect since shortly after Biden took office in January.
His predecessor, Donald Trump, rejected proposals from public health officials in the United States to implement the regulations in transit – despite the fact that airlines and several other means of transportation had already mandated masks for passengers.
According to sources speaking to Reuters, government authorities informed industry representatives about the move late on Wednesday.
A source of contention has been the demand for passengers to wear masks, particularly on American carriers, where some passengers have refused to do so.
As part of its “zero tolerance” enforcement operation against disruptive passengers, the Federal Aviation Administration announced on Tuesday that it has received reports from airlines of 3,923 passengers who have refused to wear masks since the start of the year.
In several areas in the United States, transportation hubs are among the only remaining locations where masks are needed.
There have been discussions at the White House about a variety of modifications that would make international testing more rigorous.
Presenting a negative test result received within three days of their point of departure is now acceptable for international flight travelers who have been immunized. To enter the United States, nearly all foreign nationals must be immunized against a variety of diseases. In order to enter the country, unvaccinated tourists must get a negative COVID-19 test within one day of arrival.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects to announce a new one-day testing requirement that would apply to both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, and that may go into force as soon as next week.
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