The Perfect Enemy | Virus Testing Mandate for International Travelers to the US to End
July 5, 2022

Virus Testing Mandate for International Travelers to the US to End

Virus Testing Mandate for International Travelers to the US to End  The New York TimesView Full Coverage on Google News

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The Biden administration has decided to lift the requirement that all travelers bound for the United States by air, including American citizens, must show negative coronavirus test results before boarding flights, a senior administration official said Friday morning.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention required travelers heading for the United States to have a negative test result in an attempt to slow the spread of the fast-moving virus and its variants.

That policy will expire Sunday at 12:01 a.m., the official said, after officials at the C.D.C. determined that the widespread adoption of vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 no longer make it a requirement.

But the official said that the C.D.C. will re-evaluate the decision in 90 days, and said that the requirement for pre-departure testing could be reinstated if there are new concerns about another variant.

The testing requirement was first introduced in January 2021, when fewer than 10 percent of Americans were vaccinated and new infections were reaching record levels, but in recent months with higher vaccination rates and less severe cases, travel industry representatives have been mounting pressure on the Biden administration to lift the requirement.

The administration official said that the C.D.C. would continue to recommend testing for travel.

The testing requirement for flights to the United States have been a source of frustration for months, as vacationers and business travelers have been forced to alter their plans at the last minute because of positive test results.

In December of 2021, amid heightened concerns about the Omicron variant, the C.D.C. tightened the rule by requiring that travelers present a negative test taken within 24 hours of departure. Previously, a test taken within three days was required for travel to the United States.

For Mr. Biden, the decision to drop the requirement is welcome news at a time that the administration is struggling on a series of fronts. White House officials described the decision as a validation of the president’s efforts to aggressively combat the virus.

It is also likely to be applauded by the travel industry, which had lobbied the administration to make travel to the United States easier as the pandemic has receded in recent months.