- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

Omicron Mitigation: What Travellers to the US Need to Know Beginning Monday

© REUTERS / Lindsey WassonTravellers check a departures list at the ticketing level of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before the Thanksgiving holiday in Seattle, Washington, U.S. November 24, 2021.
Travellers check a departures list at the ticketing level of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before the Thanksgiving holiday in Seattle, Washington, U.S. November 24, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
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Earlier this week, the White House announced that foreign nationals would be barred from travelling to the US if, within the previous 14 days, they have also been to Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, or South Africa. The order comes as an effort to slow the spread of the new "Omicron" variant of COVID-19.
Beginning Monday, December 6th, all US-bound air passengers aged two years or older will be required to produce a negative reading from a COVID-19 viral test taken no more than one calendar day prior to travel, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"The Order uses a 1-day time frame instead of 24 hours to provide more flexibility to the air passenger and aircraft operator", the CDC clarified.

Those lacking an authentic negative test result may provide documentation proving they have recovered from the contagious disease in the past 90 days.
Travellers will be asked to attest to the validity of the travel information presented.
Acceptable negative COVID-19 test results must include the following:
Personal identifiers, such as the patient's name, date of birth, etc. These details will be cross-checked with the traveller's passport or travel documents.
A specimen collection date, to prove the test was administered no more than one day prior.
Information on the type of test, as only antigen tests and Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) will be accepted.
A result specifically indicating that "COVID-19" or the "SARS-CoV-2" antigen/RNA was not detected in the patient's specimen. "Invalid" results will not be accepted.
Details on the COVID-19 testing facility or service, such as the name and contact information of the entity.
The full 30-page order is available on the CDC website.
Prior to the updated order, the US accepted negative COVID-19 test results within three days of administration.
Travellers to the US will be expected to don a face mask when travelling via plane, trains, subway, and other modes of public transportation. The Transportation Security Administration also requires face masks in airports and bus terminals.
Fines for violators currently range anywhere between $500 and $3,000.
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