U.S. drops COVID testing for incoming international air travelers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States late Friday rescinded a 17-month-old requirement that people arriving in the country by air test negative for COVID-19, a move that follows intense lobbying by airlines and the travel industry.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky issued a four-page order https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/rescission-global-testing-order-p.pdf.pdf lifting the mandate, effective at 12:01 a.m. ET (0400 GMT) Sunday, saying it is “not currently necessary.”

The requirement had been one of the last major U.S. COVID-19 travel requirements. Its end comes as the summer travel season kicks off, and airlines were already preparing for record demand. Airlines have said that many Americans have not been not traveling internationally because of concerns they will test positive and be stranded abroad.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the CDC decision https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/06/10/statement-from-hhs-secretary-becerra-cdc-decision-rescind-order-requiring-pre-departure-covid-19-testing-prior-to-flight-to-the-us.html is based on science and available data, and said the agency “will not hesitate to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement, if needed later.”

he CDC will reassess the decision in 90 days, an administration official said.

The United States has required incoming international air travelers to provide pre-departure negative tests since January 2021. In December the CDC tightened the rule to require travelers to test negative within one day before flights to the United States rather than three days.

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