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The Biden administration will stop requiring international air travelers to prove they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 before being allowed to enter the United States, CNN reported, citing a senior administration official.
The rule change will be announced Friday and go into effect at midnight Sunday, CNN reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will reassess the decision in 90 days in case the rule needs to be reinstated because of a new variant, CNN said.
The testing rule has been in effect in varying forms since January 2021. It required US citizens as well as people from other countries to show proof of a negative COVID test before boarding a plane bound for the US.
The US travel industry, which suffered during the pandemic, has been urging the Biden administration to drop the testing requirement for months. Other nations, including the United Kingdom, have already dropped it.
“It’s well past time to drop the testing requirement to international travelers to the U.S.” said Vin Gupta, MD, a professor and public health expert, according to The Wall Street Journal. “There was the assumption that international travelers were bringing in new variants. Now we know new variants are cropping up in the U.S.”
Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association, praised the decision in a statement issued Friday.
“International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses and workers across the country who have struggled to regain losses from this valuable sector,” Dow said. “More than half of international travelers in a recent survey pointed to the pre-departure testing requirement as a major deterrent for inbound travel to the U.S.”
CNN. “US will end Covid-19 testing requirement for air travelers entering the country”
The Wall Street Journal. “Biden to Halt Covid-19 Test Requirement for Air Travelers to U.S.”
U.S. Travel Association. “Travel Industry Welcomes Lifting of Pre-departure Testing Requirement for Inbound Air Travelers Following Months of Advocacy”