Travelers react to new travel restrictions requiring negative COVID-19 test to fly from UK to US

Starting Monday, all airline passengers traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States will need to get negative COVID-19 tests within three days of their trip and give the results to their airline, or they will not be allowed to board. 

"This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel," according to a statement from the Centers for Disease Control.

The U.S. is the latest country to announce new travel restrictions because of a new coronavirus strain that’s spreading in Britain. Some 40 countries have already imposed travel bans on the UK as a result. 

People traveling to London from LAX didn’t mind complying with the new orders. 

"Health-wise, it makes sense to," said Nora George, who accompanied her 20-year-old son Mitchell to the UK on Friday. He will finally be able to start in-person classes after spending the first part of the school year online, which meant middle-of-the-night lectures thanks to the time difference. By the time Nora returns to Carlsbad next week, she will have given British Airways proof of a negative COVID test. "It’s kind of part of the coronavirus right now. It’s just one more thing in 2020."

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But the logistics of getting tested within the required window can be challenging. College junior Brian Benny was turned away for his flight to Japan on Thursday because his negative COVID test was considered three hours ‘too old.’ (Airline passengers traveling there already have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.) So he spent Christmas Day running around Los Angeles trying to find a test that would deliver results in less than 24 hours. He thinks that airlines requiring negative tests should make them easier to get.

"Like maybe having maybe a quicker test at the airport - not one that’s 24 hours?"

There are currently three COVID testing sites at LAX that offer results in 24 hours or less, but a rapid testing option will be available in the near future. In the meantime, LAX is constantly adding new safety measures, like PPE vending machines stocked with masks and hand sanitizer, and contactless food pickup.

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