DALLAS – According to a senior White House official, the Biden administration plans to announce today that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will no longer require tourists to test negative for Covid-19 before entering the country.
The change, first reported by CNN, will take effect at midnight on Sunday for US-bound plane travelers.
According to the senior official, the CDC has decided that the limitation, which the tourism sector had pushed against for months, is no longer essential “based on the science and data.”
In 90 days, the CDC will reevaluate its decision, and if officials determine that it is necessary to reinstate it, such as because of a troubling new variety, they will do so.
The official told CNN that the Biden administration was ready to cooperate with airlines to guarantee a smooth transition, although most in the sector will most likely embrace the policy change.
A Welcomed Shift for the Industry
According to Airlines for America (A4A) CEO Nick Calio, whose group recently met with White House officials, travel industry officials have become increasingly critical of the requirement in recent weeks and have directly urged the Biden administration to end it, arguing that it is having a chilling effect on an already fragile economy.
The regulation, which commenced in January 2021, had been out of date for months, according to the tourist industry and several scientific experts. In recent weeks, lawmakers, including Democrats, have campaigned for the condition to be lifted.
“I’m glad CDC suspended the burdensome coronavirus testing requirement for international travelers,” Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said, “and I’ll continue to do all I can to support the strong recovery of our hospitality industry.”
Last month, White House officials met with travel industry representatives, who urged the Biden administration to eliminate the requirement that immunized international tourists take a coronavirus test before flying to the US.
Airlines for America said its members, which include American Airlines (AA), United Airlines (UA), Southwest Airlines (WN), and Delta Air Lines (DL), believed that removing the restrictions would encourage more foreign visitors to visit the United States.
Featured image: IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travelers to store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. Photo: IATA