The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted the requirement for travelers flying to the country to present a negative COVID-19 test.
In an order issued on June 10, 2022, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that the condition, which has been in place for the past 17 months, was “not currently necessary”.
“The now-dominant Omicron variant, though more transmissible than prior variants, has generally caused less severe disease among those who are infected,” Walensky explained. “Similarly, the availability of efficacious and accessible treatments adds a powerful layer of protection against severe COVID-19 that was not available in January 2021.”
The mandate was lifted on June 12, 2022, effective at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time. The CDC, however, still recommends that all travelers remain up to date with vaccination against COVID-19, continue to get tested, and wear masks while using public transportation.
Several other countries, notably in Europe, had already stopped requiring a pre-boarding test from international travelers.
The decision was welcomed by air carriers. “The removal of pre-departure testing for international arrivals to the US is welcome news,” a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told AeroTime. “Frictionless transatlantic travel in both directions means reconnecting with loved ones and business colleagues is made even easier […] We can’t wait to see more of our customers flying with us to the US this Summer.”
On June 11, 2022, the United States was recording a seven-day average of over 100,000 new cases and more than 300 deaths from COVID-19 per day.