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Exclusive-U.S. CDC to collect Southern Africa passengers data -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A traveller checks a departures schedule at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photograph

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. health officials have issued a directive requiring that airlines disclose the names of passengers and any other information regarding those who recently visited eight countries in southern Africa. They will then turn this over to state and local public health officials.

In a Tuesday letter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), informed airlines that within fourteen days of their last travels to Botswana and Eswatini and Lesotho in a directive, they had to collect and return contact information for all travelers to South Africa, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This was due “to the emergence of Omicron variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.”

“The CDC indicated that the information will be provided to local jurisdictional states and public health agencies.

Partners for public health monitoring. These follow-ups may contain recommendations regarding potential postarrival virus testing, quarantine, and isolation.

The CDC mandated that all airlines collect contact tracing information for all passengers on international flights, but not require them to hand over these names.

The directive came into effect Tuesday evening and was seen by Reuters. According to it, airlines must provide the information within 24 hour of arrivals in the United States of African passengers from any of the eight African nations.

Effective Monday, the United States barred almost all foreign nationals from entering any country in southern Africa if they were there.

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