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New COVID restrictions take effect for international travelers

Posted at 10:43 PM, Dec 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 11:35:17-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — New restrictions for international travel will take effect Monday, requiring travelers to take a COVID-19 test 24 hours prior to takeoff.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed travelers flying to the U.S., regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test one day before they board their flight.

The CDC also requires airlines to submit information about incoming travelers entering the U.S from southern Africa amid fears of the omicron COVID-19 variant spreading.

Many travelers at the San Diego International Airport on Sunday said the changes are an unexpected headache, yet they understood the change.

Travelers told ABC 10News that the hardship is the financial burden needed to make the turnaround while hoping that the COVID test comes back negative.

“We were actually kind of excited because they have lowered the requirements in order to get into the UK," shared Alanna Light.

Light left San Diego to London on Nov. 30. That was the same day that President Biden announced that COVID-19 tests would be required for international travelers, 24 hours before departure.

“We didn’t expect it," explains Light. "We had already ordered another one which we had to cancel, which I actually need to return it.”

Light needed to wait a full day for her results which forced her to cancel two planned tours.

“The budget was shot between all these changes and stuff but I understand it," said Light. "It’s really really important and people are afraid. But it’s just been a headache.”

Light said the most stressful part was the airports.

“I was panicked because everyone had to show their immunization records and they would not let you check in online," explained Light. "You had to do it at the counter. And [the line] it was literally out the door.”

Sunday at San Diego International Airport, Bryan Rigby and his wife were returning to Liverpool. They were not affected by the changes, but Rigby knows that many others will be.

“It would be nice to standardize the rules of travel and not change every five minutes," states Rigby. "Just have a standard set that would stay in place for a prolonged period, but again we knew there could be changes so we expected that.”

Light plans to return on Dec. 8, and orders a new test kit for Dec. 7. Light hopes that it is negative, so she can come back home.

“It would be terrible, I would have to come up with the money for what 10 days of hotel room, more testing," Light said.

"I’m using a mask, I have my booster shot I am really really hoping I am not positive after this next test because that would be a really bad thing if I am stuck here," she added.

Light said the most important thing for potential travelers to do is to be flexible and to make sure you have extra spending money in case you have to quarantine abroad for longer.