WASHINGTON: The US announced on Friday that Covid-19 tests would no longer be required for international travellers arriving by air, a major step in the country’s gradual lifting of pandemic restrictions.
White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz confirmed the news on Twitter, with US media saying the measure would end this weekend after strong lobbying from the travel industry.
All passengers had needed to show a negative Covid viral test taken shortly before travel — or proof of having recovered from the virus in the past 90 days — before boarding a flight. Munoz said President Joe Biden’s work on vaccines and treatments had been “critical” to easing the travel restrictions, and added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would continue to evaluate Covid data amid a recent rise in cases.
Nationwide, 66.7 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, rising to 91.2pc in those aged 65 and over. “The airline industry appreciates the administration’s decision to lift the pre-departure testing requirement in accordance with the current epidemiological environment,” the Airlines 4 America industry federation said in a statement.
“Lifting this policy will help encourage and restore air travel to the US… We are eager to welcome the millions of travellers who are ready to come to the US for vacation, business and reunions with loved ones.”