The United States requires people flying from the UK to test negative for Covid, the CDC says

A view of an inscription leading to one of the test centers at Heathrow Airport on December 22, 2020 in London, England.

Joseph Okpako Getty Images news Getty Images

The United States will begin requiring people flying from the UK to take a negative test on Covid-19 no more than 72 hours before departure, the CDC said in a late statement Thursday.

The announcement comes after the UK said earlier this week that it had identified a new strain of Covid-19 that appears to be spreading faster. The CDC said President Donald Trump will sign the order on Friday, Christmas, and the measure will take effect Monday.

The CDC said passengers would have to provide airlines with documentation of their lab results either by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen tests.

Airlines would also have to confirm that passengers had a negative test before boarding, the agency said. They would also have to block passengers from boarding if they refused to take the test.

Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways began requiring passengers to test negative results before boarding flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. United Airlines also requires negative test results for passengers flying from London Heathrow to its hubs in Newark, New Jersey, Washington or Chicago.

The new strain has prompted dozens of countries to quickly limit travel from the UK in an effort to prevent the strain from entering its borders. The United States had already restricted travel from the UK in March, banning foreigners who had been in the country for the past two weeks.

The World Health Organization said, however, that a new variant had also been discovered in Australia, Denmark, Italy, Iceland and the Netherlands.

Earlier this week, the CDC suggested that the new strain could already be undetected in U.S. traffic. Although the variant has not yet been found in the country, the CDC noted that the U.S. has sequenced only a fraction of Covid infections.