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Official: United States will require negative Covid-19 test for all international travelers

January 12, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced that all international airline passengers flying to the United States must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before boarding their flight.

The new policy will take effect starting January 26, 2021. It mandates that all air passengers —  including U.S. citizens and permanent residents — get tested for the coronavirus within three days of their flight.

Passengers must show written documentation of a negative test result. Travelers who previously had Covid-19 and have recovered must show a letter from a doctor or health department indicating they have been cleared to travel.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” Robert Redfield, CDC director, said in a statement.

“But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”

Airlines must deny boarding to passengers who do not meet the requirements.

“Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of Covid-19,” the CDC said in its statement.

Costa Rica relies heavily on U.S. tourism, and the CDC’s decisions to implement new testing requirements will likely have significant impacts on the sector.

Where to get tested in Costa Rica

Many private labs and hospitals in Costa Rica offer on-demand PCR coronavirus testing for a fee. These include: Laboratorios Echandi, Hospital La Católica, Hospital Cima, Laboratorios LABIN, Hospital Clínica Bíblica, Laboratorio Páez, Laboratorios San José and Hospital Metropolitano.

The majority of private labs and hospitals can guarantee results within 72 hours. Contact them for more information.

Costa Rica citizens and residents can get tested for free through the Caja, though these resources are typically reserved for people who are symptomatic. Call the coronavirus hotline (dial 1322) for more information.

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