The US will reportedly no longer require international air travelers to take a COVID test before traveling to the country. According to Reuters, the change will be effective starting Sunday morning, June 12th, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will reevaluate the decision in three months. That means people flying into the US won’t have to worry about taking a COVID test before take-off, at least until the summer travel season is over.
Before the reported change, vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers had to get a test the day before they entered the US, according to the CDC’s travel requirement page. The only exceptions were children under two years old, who did not have to be tested.
Airlines called on the government to drop the testing requirement
That requirement was put into place in January 2021 amid concerns about the spread of the Alpha variant (which was later upstaged by the Delta and Omicron variants). It’s the latest airline safety requirement to be dropped; most airlines stopped requiring masks in April after the mandate requiring masks on public transport was struck down by a federal judge.
According to Reuters, an executive from American Airlines lambasted the US requirement, and Delta CEO Ed Bastian argued for the policy change, saying that the vast majority of countries weren’t requiring testing. The United Kingdom, for example, says travelers don’t have to take “any COVID-19 tests” upon their arrival in England. Countries like Mexico, Norway, and Switzerland have a similar lack of requirements.
Other countries, like Canada and Spain, are a bit more strict: vaccinated travelers aren’t required to submit tests, but if you can’t show proof of vaccination, you’ll need to have a negative test result. Japan bases its requirements on which country someone is traveling from, and Australia requires vaccination but not pre-travel testing. China takes things even further; CNN says that “most visitors” aren’t allowed into the country, and that those who are will likely have to do three COVID tests before departure.