US to drop COVID testing for international arrivals

SCOTT OLSON/ Getty Images via AFP

The Biden administration is dropping COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound international travellers.

A senior administration official told Reuters that the move will come into effect on Sunday at 12:01 am.

The Biden administration will announce on Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will no longer require pre-departure COVID-19 testing for travellers coming to the United States after it determined based on the science and data that this requirement is no longer necessary. CDC will do a reassessment of this decision in 90 days, the official said.

Since December, the CDC has required travellers to test negative within one day before flights to the US 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."

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

Isom said 75 per cent of countries American serves do not have testing requirements.

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

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