Boost for airlines as US drops COVID testing for inbound international passengers

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The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) has rescinded a seventeen-month-old requirement that air travellers entering the country from abroad are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Originally the test had to be taken within three days of the flight’s departure, but this was tightened by the CDC to the test being within one day of the flight’s departure.  

The announcement comes at the beginning of the summer travel season and airlines are already gearing up for record demand. For many Americans the greatest worry has been the fear of travelling abroad, catching COVID-19 and then being unable to return to the States for several weeks.

The lifting of the requirement is subject to review after 90 days and the CDC has made it clear it “will not hesitate to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement, if needed later.” The CDC is also continuing to recommend travellers wear masks and get COVID-19 tests before and after international flights.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated that it was “great news” that the administration is “removing the ineffective pre-departure COVID test for travel to the US,” while JetBlue Airways Chief Executive Robin Hayes told Reuters news agency on Friday that the testing requirement was “the last obstacle to a really full international travel recovery,” saying that it “served no purpose anymore.”

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