CDC program offers travelers free at-home COVID test kits at select US airports
Flying into the United States? You could be met with a free COVID-19 testing kit upon arrival at certain airports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week began distributing free at-home test kits at Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport, Miami International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, as first reported by Thrifty Traveler.
“This initiative will quickly increase access to post-arrival COVID-19 testing for international travelers arriving in the United States,” CDC spokesperson Caitlin Shockey said in an emailed statement. "It is critical that travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel to help identify imported cases of COVID-19 and stop the spread of the virus."
The CDC did not say how many kits were available through this program, but plans to hand out "as many of these free test kits as possible.” Free test kits are set to roll out to additional airports “soon.”
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The free tests are meant to help more travelers comply with CDC travel guidance, which says all air travelers should get a COVID-19 viral test three to five days after entering the U.S. Post-arrival testing is a requirement for unvaccinated travelers flying into the country who are not U.S. citizens or immigrants unless they have recovered from the virus in the past 90 days.
Shockey said post-arrival testing is “critical” and will “help identify imported cases of COVID-19 and stop the spread of the virus.”
The CDC also has an active testing program at select airports — San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport — in partnership with XPresCheck that tests international travelers to identify new and existing COVID-19 variants.
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Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.