The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Tuesday that all passengers flying into the country will need to provide written evidence of a negative coronavirus test within the previous three days.
The new measure will come into effect on January 26 and expands the measures put in place for travellers entering from the UK after the emergence of the new, more-infectious variant.
The CDC will also recommend that travellers stay home for seven days and get another test three to five days after their arrival.
“Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield.
Epidemiologists have warned that the new variant discovered in the UK, as well as two others reported in South Africa and Brazil are probably already spreading in the USA.
The annoucement came as the US registered a record number of coronavirus deaths on Tuesday with almost 4,500 people dying from the virus in 24 hours.
Almost half of all UK staff working in intensive care units during the coronavirus pandemic have suffered from severe anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, a study published on Wednesday said.
The pressure on health workers had resulted in mental health issues that would likely impact their quality of life and ability to work, with some even reporting having contemplated self-harm or suicide.
Belgium will extend its lockdown measures until March 1, according to a ministerial decree published on Tuesday, the Brussels Times reported.
The rules which closed shops, imposed a night-time curfew and strictly reduced personal contacts were originally planned to end on January 15.
China saw its largest increase in infections for five months on Wednesday, recording 155 new confirmed cases, up from 55 the day before. The record surge occurred amid increased restrictions and testing in parts of the country.
Heilongjiang province in the far northeast of the country has entered a state of emergency after recording 16 new cases on Wednesday.
China has also been battling a new outbreak of COVID-19 in the Hebei province near to the capital city Beijing.
An investigator working for the Brazilian Fiocruz institute confirmed on Tuesday that the new variant, discovered in four Japanese travellers who had passed through the country’s Amazon region, derived from a strain which had probably been in the country since December.
ab/aw (Reuters, AFP, EFE)