As your resource and advocate for all things travel, it’s our goal to arm you with the information you need to stay in the know and confident on the impact travel regulations and changes thereof have on your organization.
What does the CDC announcement require versus recommend?
With an influx of articles, news releases and emails, it’s a lot to digest. Fox has assembled the most comprehensive overview of what this new requirement is truly requiring as well as what you may consider as recommendations for your organization as we start to review your corporate policy.
Overview: Starting January 26, 2021, negative viral test (also called qualifying test) will be required for all passengers, two years and older entering the United States (including U.S. citizens) along with a CDC attestation form. This applies to all air, including scheduled, private and chartered air that has the United States as a final destination (excludes passengers traveling through).
- Testing is required no more than three days before a traveler’s flight to the US departs.
- Viral tests include antigen tests and nucleic acid amplification tests/NAAT such as a PCR tests; antibody tests do not qualify.
- Test result documentation must include the name of the person tested, specimen collection date, type of test, name and contact information for testing laboratory or healthcare personnel who performed the test.
- Test results must state: Negative, SARS-CoV2 RNA Not Detected, SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Not Detected, or COVID-19 Not Detected.
- Those who have tested positive within three months of the flight and have recovered from COVID-19 may substitute the test with a written letter by a licensed healthcare provider or health official along with a positive test result which creates “documentation of recovery”. Testing to state: Positive, SARS-CoV2 RNA Detected, SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Detected, or COVID-19 Detected. “Invalid” will not be accepted.
- Those without paper or electronic negative test results or “documentation of recovery” will be denied boarding.
- This does not currently apply to U.S. domestic flights.
- Additional recommendations by the U.S. CDC include to retest again 3-5 days after arrival and a 7-10 day post travel self-quarantine.
Why is this happening?
- Influx of U.S. passengers: The number of passengers arriving in the United States on international flights has surged since June as travel has rebounded despite the continuing pandemic. There were 2.1 million arrivals between Dec. 1 and Dec. 28, an average of 76,000 passengers a day and quadruple the number of passengers in June.
- The U.S. is currently in “surge” status: The requirement change comes amid a rise of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.—more than 300,000 cases were confirmed last Friday, January 8, a record for the U.S., and another 200,000-plus cases were confirmed each day after through Monday—and as new mutations of the virus are being found around the world.
What can I do as my organization’s Travel Manager?
Fox is here to help guide you as you initiate policy updates and create education for your travelers to support any changing CDC requirements and to address further COVID-19 needs.
This may include, but is not limited to:
- Approved testing providers and locations
- Insurance coverage considerations
- Process for those who test positive while international and who will pay or will it be reimbursable
- Processes for travel changes if results are not received within the timeframe needed.
- Consider providing guidance on length of trip to ensure testing results are received within the required timeframe.
Related Article: Will Business Travelers be Affected by Anxiety?
What is Fox doing right now?
Living up to our “Duty of Care” responsibility, Fox is working to advocate for and support traveler safety.
To ensure those with current affected travel are assisted immediately, Fox is contacting all international travelers who booked tickets prior to the CDC announcement with flights returning to the United States on and after January 26th, to individually advise on this new CDC testing requirement.
“When emergency situations arise, Fox instantly sets in action our ‘Fox global watch program’ that sends out our Emergency Support Plan. This plan allows us to shift all our agents to act as quickly as possible. When something like the CDC announcement this week occurs, we are instantly alerted with automated reports and action plans for our agents to implement. It’s always important for us to support the needs of travelers and organizations in the moment.” – Wanda Burdrick, Director of Operations, Business Travel
To continue to support travelers with new travel reservations, new programming has been put in place for our Fox agents to advise international travelers of CDC testing requirements, as well as new resources will be included within travelers’ Fox invoice confirmation and the Fox Coronavirus Hub.
Traveler’s experience and confidence through changes in industry policy is always our highest priority.
Thank you for your continued trust; we are proud to be your travel advocate and partner.
*As always, Fox is dedicated to being your resources and advocate in travel. That means we are actively talking to subject matter experts, researching, and compiling information as changes occur. The information provided in today’s blog are reflective of information compiled 1/13/2021 and is intended to provide overview information. As always, governing agencies and official website are the official resources for details as expect changes to continue.
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