The Biden administration is currently weighing whether to impose a 7-day quarantine for all travelers returning to the U.S. in order to curb the spread of the omicron COVID variant. Those who refuse might possibly be fined.
Even a negative test or full vaccination would not exempt a traveler from the quarantine period, the Daily Mail reported. Biden is currently deliberating his winter COVID strategy and plans on announcing it Thursday.
The Daily Mail continues Biden's tentative plan would also put a requirement in place for everyone entering the U.S. to be tested for COVID before boarding flights, no matter where the person is traveling from or his or her vaccination status. Another possibility is a requirement for travelers to be tested again within 3-5 days of arrival into the country.
A federal health official told The Washington Post the new policies could take effect as soon as next week.
The testing mandates were proposed by the CDC in a draft public health order, which is currently being reviewed by both Biden and the Department of Health and Human Services. The quarantine measures are not in the CDC's draft currently but could be added later should their support increase.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House COVID briefing Tuesday that the CDC is considering a range of measures against the new variant, such as "how to make international travel as safe as possible, including pre-departure testing closer to the time of flight, and considerations around additional post-arrival testing and self-quarantines," as well as expanding surveillance programs at four major airports in order to test for COVID from certain international arrivals, the Daily Mail reported.
Biden is scheduled Thursday to visit the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and is expected to explain his winter COVID plan. He does not plan lockdowns, saying Tuesday, "I'll put forward a detailed strategy outline and how we're gonna fight this COVID this winter, not with shutdowns and lockdowns – with more widespread vaccination, boosters, testing and much more."
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