US drops testing requirement for inbound air travellers
The US government has announced that it is lifting Covid testing requirements for international air travellers entering the country, easing one of its last remaining pandemic-era border restrictions
The testing mandate will expire on Sunday 12 June at 12:01am EDT, according to a senior official for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who spoke to the Associated Press news agency ‘on the condition of anonymity to preview the formal announcement’.
The official also said that the agency would re-evaluate the need for the testing requirement every 90 days following the end of the mandate and could reinstate it if a new variant emerged.
Previously, inbound international travellers were required to show proof of a negative Covid test within a day of boarding their flight – however, travellers entering the US at land border crossings were exempt.
The change has been welcomed by the US travel industry
The change follows a decline in coronavirus cases from the previous peak in mid-January, as well as growing recognition worldwide that the severity of Covid-19 has been growing weaker with each new variant. The US follows in the footsteps of a number of other countries which have already scrapped border testing requirements in the past month, such as Indonesia, or who have completed their return to pre-Covid border rules, such as the Italy and Austria.
The US travel industry, which has been hit hard by international travel restrictions, has welcomed the move. Roger Dow, President of the US Travel Association stated: “The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel industry.
“International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses and workers across the country who have struggled to regain losses from this valuable sector,” he added.