Jun 10, 2022
By Bob Komsic
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that international air travelers to the U.S. take a COVID-19 test within a day before boarding their flights, easing one of the last remaining government mandates meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The mandate will expire Sunday at 12:01 a.m. EDT after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined it is no longer necessary.
The CDC will reevaluate the need for the testing requirement every 90 days and could reinstate it if a troubling new variant emerges.
The Biden administration put the testing requirement in place last year, as it has moved away from restrictions that banned non-essential travel from several dozen countries — most of Europe, China, Brazil, South Africa, India and Iran — and instead focus on classifying individuals by the risk they pose to others.
It was coupled with a requirement that foreign, non-immigrant adults traveling to the United States need to be fully vaccinated, with only limited exceptions.
The initial mandate allowed those who were fully vaccinated to show proof of a negative test within three days of travel, while unvaccinated people had to present a test taken within one day of travel.
In November, as Omicron swept the world, Washington toughened the requirement and required all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to test within a day of travel to the U.S.
Airline and tourism groups have been pressing the administration for months to eliminate the testing requirement, saying it discourages people from booking international trips because they could be stranded overseas if they contract the virus on their trip.
The president of the U.S. Travel Association, called lifting the testing rule “another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States.”