US testing requirement for UK travellers may not be enough to contain Covid-19 variant. Here’s why

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Amid considerations over new variants of SARS-CoV-2 inflicting speedy unfold of the coronavirus illness (Covid-19), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday introduced new testing necessities for inbound travellers from the United Kingdom. The US well being company stated that the air passengers arriving from the UK would require to present a unfavorable Covid-19 check end result obtained inside 72 hours earlier than the departure. The testing requirement is aimed toward curbing the unfold of recent Covid-19 variant within the United States, a rustic already overwhelmed by infections.

“Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before they board. If a passenger chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger,” the CDC order reads.

Why is the brand new testing requirement may not be enough?

The CDC acknowledged in its order that testing “does not eliminate all risk”, however when mixed with different measures like self-monitoring for Covid-19 signs, carrying masks, and social distancing, “it can make travel safer.” The researchers on the CDC’s Covid-19 response crew reportedly stated that testing three days earlier than a flight may cut back the chance of spreading the virus by solely 5-9%.

According to a CNN report, Dr Paul Offit, an infectious illness specialist on the University of Pennsylvania, stated that the brand new testing requirement “is like putting up a chain link fence to keep out a mosquito.” The newest advisory doesn’t mandate institutional quarantine, a measure introduced by a number of international locations for incoming travellers from the UK. In the case of false Covid-19 unfavorable outcomes, the brand new testing requirement may fail to contain the brand new variant of the coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in southeast England.

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A report by CDC scientists, revealed in November, means that testing on the day of departure can cut back the chance of transmission by 37-61%. It additionally stated {that a} 14-day quarantine after arrival, with out symptom monitoring or testing, can cut back danger by 97-100% by itself. The report is predicated on mathematical modelling and has not been peer-reviewed.

Earlier this week, the highest infectious illness skilled of the United States, Dr Anthony Fauci, stated that it’s “certainly possible” that the brand new variant of coronavirus has already reached the US. During an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, had referred to as journey ban a “dramatic step”, however indicated that there may be a requirement to check travellers earlier than they arrive within the nation.

“When you have this amount of spread within a place like the UK, that you really need to assume that it’s here already, and certainly is not the dominant strain, but I would not be surprised at all if it is already here,” he stated.

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