U.S. cancels COVID testing for international travellers

u.s. cancels covid testing for international travellers
u.s. cancels covid testing for international travellers

The United States withdrew a 17-month-old rule that persons arriving in the nation by air test negative for COVID-19 on Friday night, in response to intensive lobbying by airlines and the travel sector.

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle Walensky signed a four-page order rescinding the rule at 12:01 a.m. ET (0400 GMT) on Sunday, stating that it is “not now essential.”

It was one of the final significant COVID-19 travel restrictions for the United States. It concludes just as the summer travel season begins, and airlines were already preparing for high demand. Many Americans have reportedly avoided international travel out of anxiety that they will test positive and become stranded abroad.

Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stated that the CDC’s decision is based on science and existing facts, and that the agency “would not hesitate to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement if it becomes necessary in the future.”

An administration official stated that the CDC will reconsider the decision in 90 days.

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Since January 2021, the United States has mandated pre-departure negative tests for overseas aviation flyers entering the country. In December, the CDC changed the rule to require travellers to test negative one day prior to flights to the United States, as opposed to three days previously.

The CDC has not mandated border testing at land crossings.

Numerous European and non-European nations have already eliminated testing requirements.

To enter the United States, the CDC still requires the majority of non-U.S. citizens to be vaccinated against COVID.

According to two individuals who spoke with Shauntv, the Biden administration had contemplated eliminating the testing requirement for vaccinated travellers.

JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes told Shauntv on Friday that the testing requirement was “the last impediment to a truly complete international travel recovery” and that it “served no purpose anymore.”

IATA, the largest airline trade association in the world, hailed the administration’s decision to eliminate the ineffectual pre-departure COVID test for travel to the United States as “excellent news.”

In April, a federal judge ruled that the CDC’s requirement that travellers wear masks on flights and in transit hubs such as airports was unconstitutional, and the Biden administration ceased enforcement. The Justice Department has filed an appeal, although it is unlikely that a ruling will be reached until at least the fall.

The CDC continues to recommend that travellers wear masks and obtain COVID-19 tests before and after foreign flights.

In a research note, Raymond James stated that removing the limits “is a significant impetus for global travel.”

Ed Bastian, chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines, stated last week on Shauntv that eliminating the restrictions will increase travel, citing the fact that 44 of the 50 nations Delta serves do not require testing.

Roger Dow, chief executive officer of the U.S. Travel Association, stated that Friday’s action will “accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel business,” which the epidemic severely impacted.

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