Travellers from Europe to US face tougher Covid test restrictions

All travellers from Europe to the United States now have to provide a negative Covid test before boarding the plane.

 sign promotes a COVID-19 testing location located inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles
US imposes new Covid test rule on travellers from Europe. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

Travellers from Europe to the United States are from December 6th required to provide a negative Covid test before boarding the plane, under new rules announced by the White House last week.

The White House said that all travellers to the US – vaccinated or not – would need to provide a negative Covid test carried out within one day of departure. The rules took effect at 5:01am GMT (or 6:01am in Denmark) on Monday and apply to all non-citizens and non-US residents.

Previously, vaccinated travellers from Europe could present a negative test result obtained within three days of their time of departure. For unvaccinated travellers the requirement was a negative test within one day.

The new one-day testing requirement would apply equally to US citizens as well as foreign nationals arriving in the US. It applies to any traveller over the age of 2.

The pre-travel period for which a test is valid has been set as 1 day rather than 24 hours.

According to the CDC: “For example, if your flight is at 1pm on a Friday, you could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Thursday.”

The US has accepted both the antigenic and PCR tests for the purpose of travel.

The US, which reported its first case of the Omicron variant on Wednesday last week, said on Monday cases have now been found in 16 states. But it has stopped short of imposing mandatory quarantine on arrivals.

“Our doctors believe tightening testing requirements for pre-departure will help catch more cases, potential cases of people who may be positive and inside the country,” a senior administration official last week told CNBC. “And so now is the right time to do it. And we can implement it very quickly.”

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International flights cancelled as Easyjet’s Spain pilots strike again

Fourteen international flights were cancelled Friday as EasyJet’s Spanish pilots began a new three-day work stoppage calling for the reinstatement of conditions they enjoyed before the pandemic, union officials said.

International flights cancelled as Easyjet's Spain pilots strike again

Coming at the height of the summer tourist season, the new EasyJet stoppages only add problems to a sector struggling with rolling strikes by cabin crew at budget rival Ryanair that began in June and will continue until January.

Six of the EasyJet cancelations affected flights flying into or out of Barcelona, while the other eight involved arrivals and departures from Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Isles, the SEPLA union said in an update at 1130 GMT.

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“These are international flights to or from Geneva, Milan, Paris, London or Basel,” the union said.

EasyJet pilots began their first three-day strike on August 12th, prompting the cancellation of 36 flights in and out of Barcelona, Malaga and the Balearic Islands.

A third strike is scheduled to take place from August 27th 29th.

The strike began just two weeks after the airline’s cabin crew went on strike, resulting in a deal.

The pilots are demanding the restoration of conditions they enjoyed before the pandemic and the resumption of talks for a new collective agreement.

During the pandemic they had agreed to a pay cut to ensure “not only our jobs but the survival of the company itself in Spain,” the union explained on August 12th, saying EasyJet had refused to restore their pre-COVID working conditions.

The rolling strike by Ryanair staff has so far had a limited impact, involving more delays than flight cancelations.

Cabin crew at Iberia Express, the low-cost arm of Spain’s Iberia national carrier, are also expected to stage a 10-day strike from August 28 to September 6, the USO union has said.