US scraps mandatory Covid testing requirements for international visitors

·1-min read
The relaxing of restrictions at the US border will be reviewed every 90 days  (AFP via Getty Images)
The relaxing of restrictions at the US border will be reviewed every 90 days (AFP via Getty Images)

Visitors to the US will no longer need to take a Covid test before flying into the country.

The Biden administration has announced it will be scrapping mandatory testing from Sunday - a move that airline and tourism groups have been pushing for months.

Tourism sectors across the globe have long claimed mandatory testing requirements discourage visitors from booking long-awaited, post-lockdown trips.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined the requirement is no longer necessary but it would be reviewed every 90 days and could be reinstated if a new variant emerges.

Mandatory testing was introduced at the US border last year as well as requirements for foreign adults to be fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated travellers initially had to show proof of a negative test within three days of travel and unvaccinated people had to show a test taken within a week of their travel date.

US President Joe Biden (centre) (REUTERS)
US President Joe Biden (centre) (REUTERS)

When the Omicron variant spread, all travellers, regardless of vaccination status, had to test within a day of leaving for the US.

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said in a statement: "I’m glad CDC suspended the burdensome coronavirus testing requirement for international travellers, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support the strong recovery of our hospitality industry."

The lifting of the requirement comes six weeks after a federal judge ended the CDC’s mask requirement for mass transit including trains, planes, buses and transit hubs.

The Biden administration is appealing against that ruling, saying it aims to protect the CDC’s ability to respond to future health emergencies.

In the UK, all Covid restrictions - including border testing requirements - were axed in March.

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