The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has signed an order requiring all passengers entering the country by air to present a negative Covid-19 test result before their flight.

The move – which comes into force from January 26 – follows similar measures coming into effect in England next week.

All passengers will be required to “get a viral test (a test for current infection) within the three days before their flight to the US departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from Covid-19”.

The CDC said that the test, combined with its recommendations to get tested again three to five days after arrival, and to stay home for seven days post-travel, “will help slow the spread of Covid-19 within US communities from travel-related infections”.

“Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19,” said the CDC. “This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans.”

“Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants. With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public.”

There have been more than 23 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US, and over 380,000 deaths. CNN this week quoted a report by US health officials warning of a “full resurgence” of viral spread in “nearly all metro areas”.