US drops Covid testing requirement for international travelers

The Biden administration on Friday said the US will no longer require a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country (Picture: Getty Images)

The Biden administration on Friday announced that the US will no longer require international travelers to take a Covid-19 test before entering the country.

The rule, first established by former President Donald Trump in early 2021, was later expanded by the Biden administration. Inbound travelers, including US citizens, were required to provide proof of a negative Covid test before boarding flights to the US.

The mandate will officially expire on Sunday at 12.01am EDT, according to a senior administration official who spoke with .

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that it’s no longer necessary to require testing before international flights. The agency will reevaluate the need for the testing requirement every 90 days and reinstate the policy if necessary in the future.

‘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 official said.

The current rules required air passengers to take a negative viral Covid-19 test one day before their flight to the US. All passengers regardless of vaccination status or citizenship were required to oblige unless they had recently recovered from the virus.

Airline and tourism groups have been pressing the White House to slash the requirement, saying it has discouraged international travel.

A number of other countries, including the UK, have already dropped pre-departure testing requirements for fully vaccinated visitors in an effort to boost tourism.

Requirements for travelers entering the country over a land-border have not changed. Non-US citizens, nationals and permanent residents can only enter if they are fully vaccinated, but there is no testing requirement.

The lifting of the requirement comes six weeks after a federal judge ended the CDC’s mask requirement for mass transit, including trains, planes, buses and transit hubs, a move the Biden administration is appealing.

CDC officials say they will still continue to recommend Covid-19 testing prior to air travel as a safety precaution.

This is a breaking news story, check back for updates…

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