CDC Lifts Pre-Flight Negative COVID Testing
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 30, 2022 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lifted the requirement for international travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test result before flying to the United States from a foreign country.
As of June 12, 2022, air passengers will no longer have to get tested for COVID-19 or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States. The CDC determined the testing requirement was no longer necessary given the availability of effective coronavirus vaccines and treatments. The agency will re-evaluate its decision in 90 days and continue to monitor the state of the pandemic around the world.
“The CDC’s action is welcomed by the airline industry which had lobbied heavily for the CDC to take this action because international air travel has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels as has U.S. domestic air travel,” commented Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “The policy mostly made sense as a public health control measure affecting persons traveling in an enclosed tube in close proximity to each other. But the negative COVID-19 testing policy was not uniformly applied: Persons entering the U.S. by land border had no such COVID-19 testing requirement, and they could as easily have been in close contact with transmitters of highly contagious variants of COVID-19 if such persons had previously traveled by bus or rail.”
Under the Biden Administration’s previous policy, air passengers were required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within a day of their U.S. flight departure or documentation of recovery from the coronavirus in the past 90 days, before traveling to the United States from a foreign country. The rule went into effect on December 7, 2021, amid the spread of the omicron variant and applied to all international travelers regardless of vaccination status. According to the CDC, the measure was necessary at the time due to uncertainty about the contagiousness and severity of the coronavirus variant.
The CDC may decide to reinstate the pre-departure testing requirement if a new coronavirus variant of concern emerges. Foreign nationals will still be required to present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before entering the United States, with limited exceptions. Even though testing is no longer mandatory, the agency continues to recommend that all air travelers get tested for COVID-19 before boarding their U.S. flight as close to the departure time as possible.