Travelers arriving in the United States from the UK will now require a negative CCP Virus test before being allowed to enter America, according to a Christmas Day Order issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The Order, signed by CDC Director Robert Redfield, mandates that travelers will be required to produce either electronic or physical evidence of a negative test conducted on a sample collected within three days of their flight. It comes into effect at 7:01 EST on Dec. 27.
The tests must be a viral test and show a “negative” result for either SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antigens. Travellers will also be required to sign and provide an attestation to the CDC of having received a negative test result.
SARS-CoV-2 is the biological name for the virus that causes the disease that the CCP-friendly World Health Organization (WHO) has coined “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (COVID-19). A positive test for SARS-CoV-2 antigens or RNA, however, does not mean the person is suffering from COVID-19.
The restrictions apply to all U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, while foreign nationals are still barred from entry if they have visited the UK in the previous 14 days. The restriction on foreign nationals has been in place since March when President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation prohibiting UK foreign nationals from entry. The same restrictions are also in place on foreign nationals of Iran and China.
The CDC’s order has put the onus on airlines to ensure that all passengers over the age of 2 have received a qualifying test and produced the required documentation. Flight crew members, people who depart from a location outside of the UK but who have a connecting flight in the UK, and children under the age of 2 are the only exemptions.
On Dec. 8, the BBC reported the first vaccination from Pfizer’s batch was given to a 90-year-old grandmother in England. She described receiving the vaccine as “the best early birthday present.” The article also said there were 800,000 doses to be distributed.
On Dec. 20, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control issued a Threat Assessment Brief stating that a variant of SARS-CoV-2 with “multiple spike protein” mutations was discovered in the UK. Spike proteins are the protruding structure of a Coronavirus that give the class of virii its unique “corona” or crown-shape.
The spike protein is the portion of the virus’s RNA structure that attaches to human cells at the time of infection. If a virus does not bind to host cells in the human body, it will be quickly cleared away by the immune system.
The Threat Assessment Brief said: “Preliminary analysis in the UK suggests that this variant is significantly more transmissible than previously circulating variants, with an estimated potential to increase the reproductive number (R) by 0.4 or greater with an estimated increased transmissibility of up to 70%.”
It is currently unclear whether the start of vaccinations caused or is related to emergence of the mutation, or if natural causes are at play.