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 Friday that the requirement would end early Sunday morning at 12:01 a.m. EDT.
The government isn’t fully acquiescing its power-grab, however. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, says the CDC will continually reevaluate reinstating the requirement every 90 days and that it could be reinstated if a troubling new variant emerges.
Airline and tourism groups have been pressing the administration for months to eliminate the testing requirement, saying it discourages people from booking international trips because they could be stranded overseas if they contract the virus on their trip.
Roger Dow, president of the U.S. 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% of those 5 and older are fully vaccinated, according to CDC figures. They also complained that people entering the U.S. at land borders are not required to test negative for COVID-19, although they must show proof of vaccination.
That isn’t exactly true as thousands of illegal immigrants, without any proof of anything, are walking across America’s southern border on a daily basis, with no testing requirements or legal responsibility for their health status.