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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

International travelers at PDX react to new COVID-19 testing rule | Local News

PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – Travelers flying into the United States are facing tough new restrictions as the nation tries to fight back against the rising Omicron variant. All passengers coming in from another country, including American citizens, must show a negative COVID test before boarding their flight.

For the first time in two months, the US is averaging more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, shortly after millions of Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday.

FOX 12 spoke with passengers Monday at Portland International Airport who travel internationally often. They say the new restriction is a huge inconvenience.

“I’m stopping by in California for one or two days. Yeah, I’m heading back home,” said Wiktor Zmijewsky, who began his trek back to Poland.

If he plans to return to the U.S., who he says he does, he will have to present a negative COVID test within one day of his departure. That rule applies to all travelers 2 years old and older.

Previously, a test could be taken up to three days before entering the county.

International travelers at PDX react to new COVID-19 testing rule

KPTV image

Zmijewsky says the new rule creates a serious challenge for international travelers like him.

“Especially when I have layover flights and they are like more than a day total, and one time I had to redo a test at the airport because the one I took before wasn’t valid,” he said.

Marian Gelguerra says she also recently traveled internationally to Mexico. She says she took extra measures to avoid COVID-testing for her flight by opting to drive up to the border rather than flying across it.

“I’m vaccinated, everyone I was going with was vaccinated, and everyone I was going to visit was vaccinated, so I didn’t want to go through all of that,” she said.

As of now, any foreign national traveling to the U.S. must be vaccinated. Travel from eight African nations, including South Africa is still restricted.

In addition to those travel restrictions, President Joe Biden has also extended the federal rule requiring passengers on planes, trains and buses to wear face masks through March 18.


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