Thursday President Joe Biden announced negative COVID-19 tests will be required for incoming overseas passengers as part of a tougher plan in the wake of a new omicron variant that has been detected in a large number of cases in other countries.
At DFW Airport Thursday, passengers Kelsey Salazar and Cori Randolph agreed that COVID-19 is serious.
Salazar said her father died of COVID-19 in February and Randolph survived her own case of the virus.
“My case was very bad. My husband had it as well,” Randolph said.
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But they were still traveling through the airport, where international passengers may soon be required to pass a COVID-19 test within one day of departure from abroad.
Rick Seany with Farecompare.com said experienced international travelers should be aware of testing requirements but the shorter window for testing may cause confusion.
“In a perfect world, we would have PCR tests that were instant everywhere. And I think that's the big problem now. There's just not enough testing right now to do some of these tightened up windows. So, I think it's going to cause some chaos,” Seany said.
Dr. Nick Karr, director of the Cintra chain of clinics said interest in testing has been increasing in North Texas since even vaccinated people can become infected.
His chain, which used to be called Sinai Urgent Care, has been ramping up for a surge in demand for tests with faster results now available even on the most reliable type of tests.
“Really testing seems to be the best way, it's been true since the beginning of the pandemic, of identifying individuals who are sick,” Karr said.
At Dynamic Travel in Southlake, owner Steve Cosgrove said sales are back to where they were before the pandemic began.
Although trip insurance is also popular now, Cosgrove said customers are behaving much differently than early in the pandemic.
“They just shut down and ran and hid. This time we're still booking. The phones are still ringing. People are still going."
Cosgrove said he was pleased that current plans call for no shutdowns.
At DFW Airport, passengers Salazar and Randolph said they are glad to be traveling but support additional testing, as well.
“It definitely will show who has it or doesn't have it and who needs to quarantine and stay away from everyone else,” Salazar said.
The Biden plan also extends a mask mandate for travelers through March and promotes vaccination.