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Travel Restrictions Tighten As COVID-19 Omicron Variant Concerns Grow

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- New COVID-19 restrictions go into effect today, requiring some travelers to test negative for the virus before boarding a flight.

The move comes as at least a dozen states report confirmed cases of the new Omicron variant.

Starting today, if you're flying into the United States from another country, you must test negative for COVID-19 no more than one day before your flight, regardless of vaccination status.

Previously, travelers had a three-day window for testing.

Under the new guidelines, the test doesn't need to have been administered within 24 hours before travel.

For example, if you're flying tomorrow night, you can be tested for the virus the morning prior to travel.

Health leaders continue to monitor the variant as new states are impacted.

"And we're following them closely and we are everyday hearing about more and more probable cases so that number is likely to rise," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

"We have travel measures, safety measures that are actually helping reduce the risk , the bottom line is these are meant to be temporary measure," said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

Acceptable tests include a PCR test or an antigen test, better known as a rapid test.

Not all rapid tests apply, as some take home tests won't be accepted.

President Biden announced last week that the federal mask mandate for airports, planes, and public transportation will be extended through March 18.

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