Business & Investment

US extends transit mask obligations in mid-March-source

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Washington-President Joe Biden’s administration will increase the requirements for travelers to wear masks on planes, trains, buses, airports and stations until mid-March, sources told Reuters.

A formal announcement is scheduled for Thursday to extend the requirements until March 18, according to sources. The White House and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) declined to comment. TSA in August extended orders for shipping masks until January 18.

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Biden will discuss the US strategy to fight COVID-19 this Thursday, and the extension of the transit mask is expected to be part of his remarks.

The White House will also announce stricter testing rules for international visitors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed late Tuesday and is working to impose stricter COVID-19 testing rules on air travelers entering the United States amid concerns about variants of Omicron.

The first known US case of the Omicron variant was confirmed on Wednesday – a fully vaccinated person in California returned from South Africa to the US on 22 November and was positive 7 days later.

On Monday, the United States banned most foreigners in eight countries in southern Africa. The CDC requested airlines late Tuesday to provide contact information for passengers of all travelers who have been to those countries and told them to forward it to the state and public health agencies. ..

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Current CDC orders, which have been placed shortly after Biden took office in January, allow all travelers to wear masks at transportation hubs such as planes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis, rideshares, and airports. need to do it. , Bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, harbors.

His predecessor, Donald Trump, rejected a request from the U.S. public health agency to impose requirements in transit, even though airlines and several other modes of transport required masks. bottom.

Government agencies explained the change to industry insiders late Wednesday, sources told Reuters.

Causes of friction

Mask requirements are a source of friction, especially on US airlines where some travelers refuse to wear masks.

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The Federal Aviation Administration, which has launched a “zero tolerance” enforcement effort against unruly passengers, said Tuesday that it received reports from the airlines of 3,923 passengers who have refused to wear masks since January 1. Stated.

In some US states, transportation hubs are one of the only places where masks are still needed.

The White House has discussed many changes to enhance international testing.

Currently, vaccinated international air travelers can present negative test results obtained within 3 days of departure. Almost all foreigners need to be vaccinated to enter the United States. Unvaccinated travelers are currently required to test negative for COVID-19 within one day of arrival.

The CDC will announce new one-day test requirements that apply equally to US citizens and foreigners and may come into effect as early as next week.

(Report by David Shepardson, edited by Diane Craft and Peter Cooney)

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US extends transit mask obligations in mid-March-source

https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/u-s-to-extend-transit-mask-mandate-through-mid-march-sources-2 US extends transit mask obligations in mid-March-source

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