Travel restrictions tighten as omicron variant concerns grow

Starting Monday, all inbound travelers from overseas need to test negative for COVID-19 within one day before coming to the United States.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Omicron concerns are growing.

Health officials say they’ve detected the new variant in at least a dozen states, and because of that, the United States is once again tightening its travel rules for those entering the country.

Those new rules started on Monday, with all inbound travelers needing to test negative for COVID-19 within one day before coming to the U.S.

The applies to all passengers ages 2 and up.

With the highly mutated omicron variant confirmed in more than a dozen states, health officials continue to sound the alarm.

“We are following them closely and every day,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC. “We are hearing about more and more probable cases, so that number is likely to rise.”

The delta variant is still said to be the biggest threat, but with omicron spreading at an alarming rate, the Biden administration is taking steps to tighten air travel regulations.

“I wanna travel, so whatever it takes, that’s what I’m going to do,” traveler Darrel Bowens said on Sunday.

All inbound travelers needing to test negative for COVID-19 within one day before coming to the U.S.

Frequent international traveler Gerrit Walters said Monday that getting a negative test in time can be a challenge.

“I think it’s a little bit too much, but as a seasoned traveler, I have figured out how to do it and how to get it on time,” he said. “The main concern is that you do not get your COVID test on time. That has happened to me where I did not get it on time, and I missed a funeral.”

In addition to the new regulations, mask mandates requiring travelers to wear masks inside of airports and on planes will continue through March 18, 2022.

“If everybody plays their part in making sure we get vaccinated, then hopefully it will make its way and get out of here,” Bowens said.

With the fear of a dual wave of omicron and delta infections, health officials are urging that the best defense against these viruses are vaccinations.

“Even with a new variant like Omicron, if you get boosted, you’re going to get your level up way up,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

About the Authors:

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.