Addis Ababa, June 11, 2022 (FBC) – The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that international travelers test negative for Covid-19 within a day before boarding a flight to the United States, ending one of the last remaining government mandates designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that the requirement will end early on Sunday morning. The health agency said it will continue to monitor the state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes.

“This step is possible because of the progress we’ve made in our fight against Covid-19,” said US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association, called lifting the testing rule “another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States.”

Airlines argued that the rule was put into effect when few Americans were vaccinated — now 71 percent of those 5 and older are fully vaccinated, according to CDC figures. They also complained that people entering the US at land borders are not required to test negative for Covid-19, although they must show proof of vaccination.

While domestic US travel has returned nearly to pre-pandemic levels, international travel — which is very lucrative for the airlines — has continued to lag. In May, US international air travel remained 24 percent below 2019 levels, with declines among both US and foreign citizens, according to trade group Airlines for America. TRT

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