New York

Negative COVID Test Needed To Enter U.S., As Officials Try To Slow Spread Of Omicron

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New travel rules took effect at midnight, requiring everyone entering the U.S. to provide proof of a negative COVID test within one calendar day of their flight.

That applies to all travelers, regardless of vaccination status or nationality.

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President Joe Biden also extended the federal mask mandates at airports and on public transportation through March 18.

“Definitely another challenge that’s coming up in the way for travel,” international traveler Zohaib Valani said at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“That’s not going to stop me from traveling,” another traveler added.

“It’s adding a lot more stress, especially, you know, for those traveling for business, like me,” said Mohammad Almadani.

 

The tightened restrictions come as the Omicron variant continues to spread. New York now has eight confirmed cases, and New Jersey and Connecticut each have one.

“I’m concerned. Look, Omicron is coming up from New York on the I-95 corridor. But Delta is coming down from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts. And no state is an island, and no country is an island,” Gov. Ned Lamont told “Face the Nation.”

“The big question is whether or not Omicron will outcompete Delta. Remember, Delta is dominant, and that’s an extremely dangerous variant,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, a World Health Organization infectious disease epidemiologist.

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The World Health Organization says initial reports suggest people with Omicron tend to have mild symptoms, but it’s too early to tell.

“We’ve got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or really doesn’t cause any severe illness comparable to Delta. But thus far, the signals are a bit encouraging regarding the severity,” Dr. Anthony Fauci explained.

COVID VACCINE

As scientists rapidly study the strain, there’s a call for more research and preparation.

At NYU Langone on Sunday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Carolyn Maloney joined doctors to push for passage of the “COVID-19 and Pandemic Response Centers of Excellence Act,” which would provide federal funding to chosen academic medical centers.

“If we’re going to have future epidemics and be responding to them, people need to be trained in that experience,” said Dr. Jay Varma, a professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Sen. Chuck Schumer also called for a surge of free at-home COVID tests to be available in more locations for anyone who wants one.

“They should be distributed to community health centers. They should be distributed by mobile vans,” Schumer said.

Health officials urge people to get vaccinated and get a booster, especially heading into the holidays.

MORE NEWS: Connecticut Man Who Tested Positive For Omicron Variant Resting At Home With Mild Symptoms, Gov. Lamont Says

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC



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