It has just been a week and the newly formed US administration of President Joe Biden has started working on fixing the bottlenecks to mitigate confusion that led to the coronavirus pandemic infecting some 25 million people across the country so far.
To contain the new variants of the killer bug that have cropped up in several corners around the globe and limit the further spread of the infection, the Biden administration has mandated all US-bound passengers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from the virus at least three days prior to the departure.
"All travelers, from January 26, two years of age or older arriving to the United States must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding," said a release from the Department of State. And those who don't will be denied boarding, it added.
Proof of recovery is equivalent to negative testing
The statement was quick to announce that passengers travelling to the US need to show a negative result or a proof of recovery (from a recent positive viral test and a letter from the respective healthcare provider or a public health official) stating that he /she has been cleared to travel.
But it should be noted that a proof of recovery is equivalent to showing a negative test for Covid-19.
Many people are getting immunized for Covid-19 owing to the availability of vaccines globally, and the European states have already initiated the practice of issuing 'COVID-19 vaccination certificates to persons who received the second jab of the vaccine against the coronavirus. A certificate of vaccination will thus be substantive and in accordance with the international rules on vaccination certification.
Trump lifted ban
Latest reports have stated that a UK-based variant of the virus, first discovered in the US in late December, is believed to be even more infectious than the main strain. Other variants of the virus that have been found in South Africa and Brazil are also termed to be more infectious.
Trump, while holding office, had imposed similar restrictions on travelers from Brazil and Europe but ordered that the ban be lifted two days before his term ended, necessitating the new rule.
Biden's latest order on containing the pandemic overturns the decision by the former Trump administration and marks a new approach to the coronavirus policies in the country.
Criticized Trump's announcement to lift travel restrictions, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a tweet, last week, "With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel. We plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19."