June 25, 2022

Image credit: KLM

The United States will no longer need flight travellers to take a drug test

The United States will no longer demand documentation of a negative COVID-19 test for flying travellers entering the country from outside.

Officials claimed they were eliminating the rule because the country has made “tremendous success” in its fight against the virus.

The travel industry has pushed for an end to the regulation, claiming that it has hindered bookings since families are afraid of being trapped abroad.

On Sunday, the modification will take effect.

In 90 days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will review the policy.

In January 2021, the United States implemented guidelines requiring air travellers to test negative within three days of their flight – or produce proof of recent recovery from the virus.

As the Omicron version pushed viral instances higher, US President Joe Biden tightened the ban to within one day of travel in December. Land crossings were not included in the experiment.

Most non-US citizens still need to be vaccinated before entering the country.

The number of COVID cases in the United States has been steadily decreasing since January, though it had begun to climb again in recent weeks before plateauing. Because of the impact of the vaccine programme, deaths are significantly lower than they were during the peak of the pandemic.

The tourism industry, which has seen demand rise as fears of a pandemic fade, has said that the United States has fallen behind other countries in re-evaluating testing standards.

In March, both the UK and Canada withdrew the COVID-19 test requirements for travel. This month, Italy completed its testing requirements.

Canada also said on Friday that it would suspend random COVID testing at airports for the rest of June to cut traveller wait times.

The United States has been gradually loosening COVID’s national limits. After a more than 18-month suspension, it lifted restrictions on travellers from more than 30 nations, including the United Kingdom, in November.

After a judge overturned the CDC’s regulation, the US suspended its requirement that travellers wear masks on airlines in April.

According to US Travel Association data, eliminating the test requirement will bring an additional 5.4 million tourists to the US this year, resulting in a 12% increase in travel spending.