US requiring international travelers to have negative COVID-19 test results within a day of departure

Travelers previously had 3-day window to complete COVID-19 test

ORLANDO, Fla. – Ewald Lacle was traveling back home to Aruba on Monday out of Orlando International Airport and said he just learned the new testing requirement for international travelers going to the U.S.

“That’s why the test is important, I think, so you know you’re going to be safer for your next trip,” Lacle said.

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The Biden administration is now requiring anyone flying into the U.S. from abroad to have a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours before their flight.

Previously, travelers had a three-day window for testing.

“These are meant to be temporary measures. Nobody wants them to be go on for any longer than they need to be and that’s why we’re continuously reevaluating them so we can get them off as soon as it’s appropriate,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said.

The change is part of the latest plan from health officials to try and slow the spread of the omicron variant, which has been confirmed in more than a dozen states.

The U.S. recently restricted entry to travelers from South Africa and seven other African nations.

Passenger Ziff Sistrunk said he feels indifferent about the change.

“I come to Florida, I don’t have to necessarily wear a mask, it has to stop being a this-and-that. It has to be one consistent message across the world if we are going to get this right. Whether it’s Africa or Switzerland, New Zealand, wherever,” Sistrunk said.

The requirement also comes as travel is expected to pick up again for the holidays.

According to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period ended with a total of 1.6 million travelers moving through Orlando International Airport.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!