It’s no secret that it’s easy to create fake negative COVID-19 tests and the U.S. government is finally addressing it. Yesterday, the CDC released guidance to help airlines verify passengers’ COVID-19 status before passengers board flights to the United States, as required by CDC’s order.

If you remember, back in January, the US created a rule that stated: “If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must not allow the passenger to board.” It was to try and curb the spread of emerging variants, but it made international travel much more difficult, risky, and expensive for a few reasons:

1. Depending on the destination, it may not be that easy to find a place to get tested and then get the results back in time for your flight to the US (three days before arrival).

2. On top of that, some testing sites charge up to $250 so if you’re a family of four, that’s an extra $1,000 to add to your expenses. That’s why a lot of resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic started offering free testing at their resorts to alleviate the hassle.

3. If you do test positive for COVID-19, you can’t board a plane to the U.S., regardless of whether you’re an American or not. You must wait until you test out and quarantine immediately. Worrying about getting back home to your family, job and other commitments is not how you want to spend part of your vacation. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening right now to a vaccinated nurse from Minnesota who traveled to Mexico. According to WFLA, Diana Schmidt is being required to quarantine in a Playa Del Carmen hotel after she tested positive for COVID-19. “This could be a long week and a half if I really have to stay that long.” On March 27, Schmidt flew to Playa Del Carmen for her daughter’s senior trip. Now, she’s stuck in her hotel room and not able to leave. Towards the end of her trip, Schmidt got a sore throat and other symptoms. Turns out, Schmidt -a nurse practitioner at a children’s hospital who’s been fully vaccinated since January – had COVID-19.

4. It’s expensive to stay an extra 10-14 days somewhere to quarantine, which is another reason some resorts started offering a free quarantine stay if you test positive. Always read the fine print of your hotel’s policy should you test positive and find out how much it will cost.

One thing I didn’t realize is that if you have previously recovered from COVID-19, you could test positive even though you’re not contagious. That’s why the CDC allows evidence of recent infection instead of a negative COVID-19 test. But that too is being sold on the black market.

Being stuck out of the country is the main reason destinations like Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are seeing a huge uptick in travelers because they’re exempt from getting tested. Same goes for the land border between Canada and Mexico but it’s closed to everyone but essential travelers.

If you want to see exactly how the CDC is cracking down, check out the passenger requirements below. If the airlines let someone slide, they will get a huge fine which is why they’re so strict.

To summarize, airlines must refuse to board passengers who do not present a negative viral test result for COVID-19 (option A) or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (option B).

Passenger must meet all 5 requirements to verify option A:
-The test must be a viral test (either a nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) or antigen test.
– The test must include where the test was performed.
– The test must show a specimen collection date 3 days or less before flight departure.
– The test must include information that identifies the person.
– The test result must be negative.

Passenger must meet all 6 requirements to verify option B:
– The test must be a viral test (either a nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) or antigen test.
– The test must include where the test was performed.
– The test must show a specimen collection date within the last 90 days.
– The test must include information that identifies the person.
– The test result must be positive.
– Must also have a signed letter stating the passenger is cleared for travel.

For further details, here’s the form the airlines must to fill out for each passenger. KEEP READING: US Hopes Cruises Will Return By Mid-Summer


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