Just as summer heats up, the US is lifting its long-standing requirement for all travelers entering the country to present a negative Covid-19 test.
The news brings both a collective sigh of relief and a likely flood of new international travelers to an already chaotic summer season.
For many American travelers, the development means no longer having to worry about the hassle of testing before returning to the States, or the cost and burden of remaining abroad to quarantine and wait for a negative test result if a pre-travel test comes up positive.
US-bound international travelers, meanwhile, can plan trips without the fear of having to cancel because of a positive test. Most non-US citizens must still be vaccinated to travel to the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it will reassess the rule if the Covid-19 situation changes.
In April, a federal judge in Florida struck down a requirement that passengers wear masks on planes and public transportation, saying that the CDC had exceeded its authority. The Biden administration is appealing that ruling, saying it aims to protect the CDC’s ability to respond to future health emergencies.
Some infectious-disease experts said they were comfortable with the CDC’s decision, and that lifting the restriction is unlikely to cause further spread of the virus in the U.S. Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University said the rule was designed to prevent importing the virus, “but we’ve got plenty of COVID here. It’s like telling someone not to pour a bucket of water in their swimming pool.”
CDC News Release: June 10, 2022:
Today, CDC is announcing that the Order requiring persons to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States, will be rescinded, effective on June 12, 2022 at 12:01AM ET.
This means that starting at 12:01AM ET on June 12, 2022, air passengers will not need to get tested and show the COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight to the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic has now shifted to a new phase, due to the widespread uptake of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, the availability of effective therapeutics, and the accrual of high rates of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity at the population level in the United States. Each of these measures has contributed to lower risk of severe disease and death across the United States. As a result, this requirement which was needed at an earlier stage in the pandemic may be withdrawn. CDC continues to recommend that those travelers boarding a flight to the U.S. get tested for current infection with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) and not travel if they are sick. CDC continues to evaluate the latest science and state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes. CDC will communicate any updates publicly if and/or when they change.