PORTLAND, Ore (KPTV) – Travelers flying to the United States are facing tough new restrictions as the nation struggles to fight the rising Omicron variant. All passengers coming from another country, including US citizens, must show a negative COVID test before boarding their flight.
For the first time in two months, the U.S. is registering an average of more than 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day, right after millions of Americans traveled for Thanksgiving.
FOX 12 spoke with passengers Monday at Portland International Airport, who travel frequently internationally. They say the new restriction is a major concern.
“I’ll stay in California for a day or two. Yes, I’m coming home,” said Wiktor Zmijewsky, who began his return trip to Poland.
If he plans to return to the US, as he says, he will have to submit a negative test for COVID within one day of its launch. This rule applies to all travelers 2 years and older.
Previously, a test could be done up to three days before entering the circuit.
Zmijewsky says the new rule poses a serious challenge to international travelers like him.
“Especially when I have departure flights and they are like more than a day in total, and once I had to do a test at the airport because the one I did before was not valid,” he said.
Marian Gelguerra says she has also recently traveled internationally to Mexico. She says she took extra precautions to avoid COVID testing for her flight by choosing to travel to the border instead of flying beyond it.
“I’m vaccinated, everyone I was going to go with was vaccinated and everyone I was going to visit was vaccinated, so I did not want to go through all that,” she said.
By now, every foreign national traveling to the US should be vaccinated. Travel from eight African countries, including South Africa is still limited.
In addition to these travel restrictions, President Joe Biden has also extended the federal rule requiring passengers on planes, trains and buses to wear face masks until March 18th.
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