By John Ikani
The United States (US) will drop from Sunday a requirement that people arriving in the country by air take a COVID-19 test within a day before boarding their flights, a senior White House official confirmed on Friday.
The rule, put in place by the Trump administration in early 2021 and later tightened by the Biden administration, most recently required inbound travelers, including U.S. citizens, to show proof of a negative Covid test a day before boarding U.S.-bound flights. Travelers entering the U.S. at land border crossings were exempt.
The only exception to this was for people who had recovered from an infection within 90 days beforehand — and had proof of this.
The step comes as the busy summer travel season is kicking off and air carriers were already preparing for record demand.
Airlines have said many Americans are not traveling internationally because of concerns they will test positive and be stranded abroad.
According to Reuters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that the science and data show the pre-departure COVID tests are no longer necessary, said the official, who declined to be named.
The official was quoted as saying the agency would reevaluate the need for the testing requirement every 90 days and that it could be reinstated if a troubling new variant emerges.
Many countries in Europe and elsewhere have already dropped testing requirements.