QCOSTARICA – All travelers to the United States will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the new policy Tuesday and said it will go into effect on January 26, to help slow the spread of the virus, currently surging in the United States, as the vaccine rollout continues.
The CDC said all travelers – including U.S. citizens and permanent residents – must get a viral test within three days before their flight to the U.S., which will likely send some vacationers scrambling to find locations during their trip. The order includes US citizens seeking to return to their country.
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement, “but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports and at destinations.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the CDC said if a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must not allow the passenger to board.
An airline industry group has expressed support for the new measure, according to CNN.
The CDC on December 28 began requiring almost all airline passengers arriving from Britain – including U.S. citizens – to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure.
Canada imposed similar rules for nearly all international arrivals starting January 7. Even with a negative test, arriving passengers are still required to quarantine for 14 days.
Where to get a Covid test in Costa Rica
Private hospitals, clinics, and labs all perform PCR testing and results within 24 to 72 hours.
The costs start at ¢53,000 (US$98) plus VAT tax.
In the San Jose area, hospitals such as CIMA (in Escazu) and Clinica Biblica (with two locations, downtown San Jose and Santa Ana) are favorites for foreigners for their English speaking staff. The small Hospital Metropolitano, located in downtown San Jose, is another option.
In Liberia, Guanacaste, there is Laboratorios Paez that also offers “prueba a domicilio” (home testing).
Currently, there is no Covid testing at airports.
All Covid-19 tests are done under the authority of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Heath.