A requirement for all international travelers flying to the United States to take a COVID-19 test within a day of departure will be lifted on Sunday, a senior Biden administration official said Friday.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined the regulation is no longer necessary, but will reevaluate the need for a COVID-19 testing requirement every 90 days, the official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity in advance of the formal announcement.
Testing requirements for fully vaccinated and boosted travelers have already been lifted in many other countries in a bid to boost tourism.
If a troubling new coronavirus variant emerges in the future, the testing rule could be reinstated, the official said.
The CDC will continue to recommend COVID-19 testing prior to air travel of any kind as a safety precaution, according to the official.
The lifting of the testing requirement comes six weeks after a federal judge ended the CDC’s mask mandate for public transportation, including trains, planes, buses and transit hubs, saying the agency exceeded its authority. The Biden administration is appealing that ruling, saying it aims to protect the CDC’s ability to respond to future emergencies.
The testing rule for international air travelers was implemented last year by the White House as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spread worldwide. It is one of the last remaining federal mandates aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus, according to the AP.
Airline and tourism groups have been asking the Biden administration for months to do away with the rule.
“I’m glad CDC suspended the burdensome coronavirus testing requirement for international travelers, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support the strong recovery of our hospitality industry,” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said in a statement.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on traveling and COVID.
SOURCE: Associated Press