Biden to end Covid testing requirement for travel into US | Coronavirus

The Biden administration will today announce the end of its requirement that people entering the country test negative for Covid-19, a senior administration official has told news outlets.

According to Reuters, the move will go into effect for US-bound air travelers on Sunday at midnight.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reportedly determined that the science and data mean the tests are no longer necessary. It will examine the decision again after three months.

The travel industry had lobbied for months against the restriction, which had been in place since January 2021.

The official said the Biden administration plans to work with airlines to ensure a smooth transition. The travel industry, as well as some scientists and lawmakers, including Democrats, had been critical of the requirement, saying it was no longer needed.

Since December, the CDC has required travelers to test negative within one day before flights to the United States but does not require testing for land border crossings.

The official said, “If there is a need to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement – including due to a new, concerning variant – CDC will not hesitate to act.”

The American Airlines chief executive, Robert Isom, said last week at a conference that the testing requirements were “nonsensical” and were “depressing” leisure and business travel.

Airlines have said many Americans are not traveling internationally because of concerns they will test positive and be stranded abroad.

Isom said 75% of countries American Airlines serves do not have testing requirements.

“We’re really frustrated. And this is something that is damaging not only US travel. It just doesn’t make sense,” Isom said last week.

In December, the CDC tightened requirements for international air travelers to get a negative test within one day rather than three days of coming to the United States.