PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Travelers flying to the United States face tough new restrictions as the country tries to fight back against the emerging Omicron variant. All passengers arriving from another country, including US citizens, must show a negative COVID test before boarding their flight.
For the first time in two months, the US averages more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, shortly after millions of Americans set off for Thanksgiving.
FOX 12 spoke to passengers at Portland International Airport who frequently travel internationally on Monday. They say the new restriction is a huge inconvenience.
“I’m stopping in California for a day or two. Yes, I’m going back home,” said Wiktor Zmijewsky, who began his journey back to Poland.
If he plans to return to the US, which he says he will, he will be required to present a negative COVID test within a day of his departure. This rule applies to all travelers aged 2 years and older.
Previously, a test could be taken up to three days before entering the province.
Zmijewsky says the new rule poses a serious challenge for international travelers like him.
“Especially when I have intermediate flights and they are more than a day in total, and one time I had to retake a test at the airport because the test I had done before was not valid,” he said.
Marian Gelguerra says she also recently traveled internationally to Mexico. She says she took extra steps to avoid COVID testing before her flight by choosing to drive to the border instead of flying over it.
“I’ve been vaccinated, everyone I went with was vaccinated and everyone I would visit was vaccinated, so I didn’t want to go through all that,” she said.
From now on, every foreign national traveling to the US must be vaccinated. Travel from eight African countries, including South Africa, is still restricted.
In addition to these travel restrictions, President Joe Biden also extended the federal rule requiring passengers on planes, trains and buses to wear face masks until March 18.