[rotated_ad] US drops Covid test requirement for international travelers -

US drops Covid test requirement for international travelers

The Biden administration will drop the Covid-19 testing requirement for inbound air travelers from abroad on Sunday, ending one of the pandemic’s longest-running travel restrictions.

The rule, put in place by the Trump administration in early 2021 and then tightened by the Biden administration, recently required inbound travelers, including US citizens, to show proof of a negative Covid test one day before boarding US-bound flights. Travelers entering the United States at land border crossings were exempt.

The change takes effect at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday.

Airlines and other travel industry players had repeatedly pushed the administration to drop the requirement, arguing this hurt the demand for international travel. The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

American airlines CEO Robert Isom told an industry conference last week that he had met with politicians in Washington, DC, to discuss the testing requirement, a rule he called “absurd “.

“We’re really frustrated,” he said.

Other countries, including the UK, had previously dropped Covid testing entry rules.

“The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will once again welcome visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the American travel industry,” Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association, said in a statement. . “International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses and workers across the country who have struggled to recoup losses from this valuable sector.”

For his part, the Travel Technology Association’s vice president of government relations, Mike Liptak, said in a statement that travel and tourism are critical to economic recovery from the pandemic. Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, the lobby group for America’s largest carriers, said the industry looks forward to continuing to work with the administration to prioritize the safety and well-being of the traveling public. and to ensure that air transport policies are guided. by science.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will reevaluate the decision in 90 days, according to a senior Biden administration official.

“If it is necessary to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement — including due to a concerning new variant — the CDC will not hesitate to act,” the official said.

The travel industry has clashed with the Biden and Trump administrations throughout the pandemic over rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, including a strict ban on most foreign visitors to the United States, which was finally lifted in November. Most non-citizen visitors to the US will still need to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination before flying to the United States, a White House spokesperson said.

Separately, in April, a federal judge appointed by Trump struck another contentious rule that sought to curb the spread of Covid-19: the Biden administration’s federal mandate that travelers wear masks on airplanes and other public transportation. The Department of Justice appealed the decision.

CNBC Thomas Frank contributed to this article.

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