Under the Biden presidency, the US is introducing sweeping new public health measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. An executive order signed by President Joe Biden this week will require domestic and international travelers to abide by a new set of rules that include mask-wearing, physical distancing, timely testing and quarantine.

The executive order, backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), comes into effect on January 26 and requires travelers arriving on international flights to present a negative COVID-19 result from a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. International travelers will be required to quarantine on arrival, while masks will be mandated on many domestic trains, planes and buses.

Travelers At LaGuardia and JFK Airports As NYC Enforces Travel Quarantine
Travelers wearing protective masks walk through LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York ©Angus Mordant/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The testing requirement was introduced by the previous administration, but quarantine was only a recommendation. Now it's mandatory, with the CDC proposing a seven-day quarantine for people arriving in the US from nearly all countries. The executive order says air travelers must comply with applicable CDC guidelines concerning international travel "including recommended periods of self-quarantine." It does not explain how quarantine will be enforced.

"In addition to wearing masks, everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to test before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America," Biden said on Thursday. The newly-elected president added he was signing a new order "to extend masking requirements on interstate travel, like on trains, planes and buses", an order that is now in effect.

The new administration is also in talks with Canada and Mexico to implement new public health guidelines at the land borders. Practically all non-essential travel with Canada and Mexico is currently on hold until February 21.

This article was first published on December 25, and updated on January 22, 2021.

Read more:

Canada will now require negative COVID-19 tests from air travelers
What does the COVID-19 vaccine news mean for your 2021 travel?
The UK to introduce strict new COVID-19 entry rules for travelers

This article was first published Dec 25, 2020 and updated Jan 22, 2021.

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