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Washington DC to require Covid-19 test for visitors from hot spot states

With virus numbers rising locally and nationally and the holiday travel season looming, the nation's capital is revamping its Covid-19 travel restrictions

Coronavirus | washington | Coronavirus Vaccine

AP  |  Washington 

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A worker in PPE sanitises the interiors of a mall

With virus numbers rising locally and nationally and the holiday travel season looming, the nation's capital is revamping its COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Starting next week, visitors coming to DC from a state classified as high risk will be required to take a COVID-19 test and receive a negative result within 72 hours before travelling. They will also be asked to take another test locally if they plan on staying here more than three days.

The new system replaces the one in place since July, which required visitors from hot-spot states to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Mayor Muriel Bowser acknowledged Thursday that the quarantine system, which was entirely voluntary, was probably being violated by many visitors.

We continue to ask people to limit their travel and stay home," Bowser said. We also know that people are going to come here and they're more than likely not going to quarantine for 14 days if they do."

It also was unrealistic that travellers would abide by the quarantine rules, particularly as Washington's hot-spot list has grown to encompass 42 states. There also was no way to enforce it.

Under the new restrictions, private institutions such as hotels, universities, employers and houses of worship are permitted to demand proof of negative COVID-19 tests before allowing people to enter, but Bowser said the government won't be involved in such enforcement.

"Nobody is going to be asking you at the airport, or on bridges or roads or at the train station, to show your papers, Bowser said.

Visitors from neighbouring Maryland and Virginia are exempt, as well as those staying in DC less than 24 hours and those travelling on essential business.

Washington, Maryland and Virginia have all witnessed rising infection rates in recent weeks, with Maryland and Virginia experiencing the most dramatic spikes. The main infection metrics in DC have doubled in recent weeks, but are still around half of the local peak in May. The city reported 81 new infections Thursday, for an overall total of 17, 682, with 650 deaths.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, November 06 2020. 08:47 IST