The United States on Friday announced that Covid-19 tests would no longer be demanded for international travelers arriving by air, a major step in the country’s gradual lifting of pandemic restrictions.
White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz confirmed the news on Twitter, with US media saying the testing requirement would end this weekend after strong lobbying from the travel industry.
All passengers had needed to show a negative Covid viral test taken shortly before travel — or proof of having recovered from the virus in the past 90 days — before they boarded their flight.
Munoz said President Joe Biden’s work on vaccines and treatments had been “critical” to easing the travel restrictions, and added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would continue to evaluate Covid data amid a recent rise in cases.
Last month, the United States crossed the threshold of one million Covid deaths, with Biden acknowledging the “unrelenting” pain of bereaved families, and urging Americans to remain vigilant.
America recorded its first Covid-19 death, on the West Coast, in early February 2020.
Many mask mandates have been lifted but the country has recently seen an uptick in the number of daily virus cases, largely due to new Omicron subvariants.