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Health Highlights: Jan. 13, 2021

Health Highlights: Jan. 13, 2021

Negative COVID-19 Test to be Required For People Flying to U.S.

People flying to the United States will soon need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

The order will take effect on Jan. 26 and expands on an existing one for passengers arriving from the United Kingdom, the Associated Press reported.

Air passengers will have to provide written proof of a negative COVID-19 test they had within three days of their flight. Passengers without proof of a negative test will not be allowed to board flights to America.

The new order, which applies to both foreign travelers and U.S. citizens, is an attempt to prevent travelers from bringing in new variants of the novel coronavirus that are more infectious, the AP reported.

"Testing does not eliminate all risk," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a statement. "But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."

The CDC order is "a reasonable approach" to reducing the risk of new variants from abroad entering the United States, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, told the AP.

It's likely that the recently identified version of the virus from the United Kingdom is "probably in every state or most states. This is going to do nothing for that," Jha said. So far, 10 states have reported 72 cases of the British variant, the AP reported.

But the new order may stop or diminish spread of other new, more infectious versions of the virus, like one recently identified in South Africa.


Women Must Get Abortion Pill in Person: U.S. Supreme Court

Women who want to get the abortion pill mifepristone during the COVID-19 pandemic must visit a doctor's office, clinic or hospital, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Similar rules for other medications have been suspended during the pandemic. But in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court granted a Trump administration appeal to enforce the requirement for getting the abortion pill, the Associated Press reported.

In July, the rule was suspended by a federal judge after hearing a lawsuit from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other groups.

The suspension of the rule was upheld in December by U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang, who cited public health risks for patients during the pandemic, the AP reported.

Joe Biden's administration could put the in-person requirement on hold after taking office on Jan. 20, the AP reported.

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