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United Airlines To Support CDC's Efforts To Curb Covid-19 Spread

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United Airlines said it will work on a contact tracing program to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC's efforts to lessen the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world.

United will collect detailed customer contact information for all international and domestic flights.

United customers will be prompted during the check-in process to voluntarily opt-in and provide their contact information such as an email address, phone numbers and a destination address. These details were previously difficult for the CDC to obtain in real-time, United noted.

United will roll out the contact testing program in phases from this week with the voluntary collection of information for all international arrivals. The airline will then phase in domestic and international outbound departures in the coming weeks.

In October, United had started a customer COVID-19 testing program at San Francisco International Airport by offering customers travelling from San Francisco to Hawaii to choose between a rapid test at the airport or a drive-through option. The program allows customers with a negative result to bypass Hawaii's mandatory quarantine requirements.

In addition, United has participated in two international test programs. In November, the airline announced a free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot program for customers on board select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow.

In December, United expanded its customer testing efforts by adding a new mail-in test option for flights out of Houston to select destinations in Latin America as well as the Caribbean.

In the same month, Delta Air Lines announced a similar contact tracing program, saying it is partnering with the CDC to keep international customers informed of potential COVID-19 exposure through contact tracing.

Starting December 15, the airline requires customers traveling to the U.S. from an international location to voluntarily provide five pieces of information to aid contact tracing and public health follow-up efforts. This includes email address, address in the U.S., and two phone numbers.

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