Biden Administration Considering Forcing International Travelers, Including U.S. Citizens, to Quarantine

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 08: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers scre
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The Biden administration is considering a controversial proposal requiring international travelers, including United States citizens, to self-isolate for seven days, regardless of vaccination status or a negative coronavirus test.

Citing three federal public health officials, the Washington Post previewed the restrictions the Biden administration is considering imposing upon international travelers in the wake of the omicron variant. Notably the South African doctor who identified the new strain said the symptoms appear to be “extremely mild,”at least in one of her patients, who experienced body aches and pains, headache, and scratchy throat.

Last week, Biden said the variant is of “great concern” and urged everyone this week to wear masks. When asked if lockdowns are off the table, Biden left the door open, telling reporters, “for now.”

However, the administration is reportedly considering additional restrictions for international travelers,  some of which he is expected to announce on Thursday. According to the Post, which described Biden’s plan as a “part of an enhanced winter covid strategy,” one of the proposals involves requiring everyone traveling into the U.S. to have a coronavirus test one day before their departure, regardless of vaccination status.

“Administration officials are also considering a requirement that all travelers get retested within three to five days of arrival,” according to the Post.

Additionally, the administration is also considering a “controversial proposal” which would require all international travelers to isolate for seven days after arriving in the states. This would be required regardless of a negative coronavirus test. Those who fail to adhere to the rules could face “fines and penalties,” per the Post.

“Those who flout the requirements might be subject to fines and penalties, the first time such penalties would be linked to testing and quarantine measures for travelers in the United States,” the outlet reported:

The two testing measures are detailed in a draft public health order written by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is under review by officials at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department and the White House. The self quarantine-related measures are not in that draft but could be added later if the proposals win broader sign-off, said the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the order has not been finalized.


Currently, the United States requires pre-departure coronavirus testing for both unvaccinated and vaccinated air travelers to the country. For those who show proof of full vaccination, that test must be conducted no more than three days before the flight’s departure. For someone who cannot show such proof,the test must be done no more than one day before departure. The new policy would require everyone to be tested one day before departure.

So far, the U.S. has temporarily suspended travel from a number of South African countries in response to the new variant.

Currently, international travelers are required to produce a negative coronavirus test regardless of vaccination status.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully vaccinated individuals must take the  test “no more than 3 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country.”

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must have the sample taken “no more than 1 day before the flight’s departure form a foreign country.” 


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