CDC’s Statement On Lifting COVID Testing Requirements For International Travel

by SharonKurheg

Beginning on January 26, 2021, all travelers arriving into the U.S. from outside the country were required to show proof of a negative COVID test. The new policy required all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, to get a test for current infection within the three days before their flight to the United States departed and provide written documentation of their test results or proof of having recovered from Covid-19.

That worked well for most of 2021. However when Omicron, a much more contagious variant than its predecessors, began spreading like wildfire, the policy had to change. It was too easy to be tested 3 days before your flight to the U.S. and then catch the virus in the time between being tested and going on the plane.

So, starting December 6, 2021, the requirement changed. Anyone flying into the U.S. from abroad had to have a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours before their flight.

Throughout the month of January, COVID cases around the world have decreased significantly in many places. Cases in the U.S. have also started to decrease, although hospitalizations and deaths remain high. Several countries, including France, Greece, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, have announced ending their testing requirements to enter – some entirely, some only for those fullyvaccinated against COVID.

Last week, on February 1, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) sent a letter to the White House (here’s a PDF of it). In it, they asked that vaccinated Americans returning to the U.S. from abroad be exempt from the required pre-flight testing. They said that “Removing the requirement will greatly support the recovery of travel and aviation in the United States and globally without increasing the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.”

ASTA’s letter was followed by similar letters from the U.S. Travel Association, Airlines for America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, International Air Transport Association, Aerospace Industries Association and other groups, all asking the White House to change their policy.

There was no official response from anywhere in the federal government, however on Tuesday, the director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Yahoo Finance that although the agency is optimistic COVID-19 cases will continue to decline, it will maintain current protocols due to the virus’ uncertainty.

“We came down from a very high level and our hospitalizations right now are higher than they ever were during the peak of our Delta surge,” said Walensky. “So, while we will look down the field and say ‘what does this look like?’ and ‘how can we relax some of our mitigation strategies?’ first we always need to be prepared for what may come around the corner. Second, we’re not quite ready to do so yet.”

Obviously, I’m sure some people are happy to read this, and others are (or, probably, ‘remain’) frustrated. Of course, what any of us think doesn’t really matter; they make the rules and if we want to travel internationally, we have to follow them. Assuming that our numbers continue to go down, the number of people who are vaccinated go up, and we don’t get hit with another ‘bad’ variant, I’m sure they will change the rules when they feel it’s safe to do so. Until then, it is what it is.

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Steve February 10, 2022 - 4:50 pm

As a democrat I can say this is the reason democrats will lose in 22 and 24, we all got vaccinated and life’s not back to normal at all. It’s a joke. Vaccinated Americans should be exempt or have a 72hr window

SharonKurheg February 10, 2022 - 5:15 pm

Everyone is entitled to have an opinion. However those in charge will still do what they think is right, regardless of what any of us think.

Ryan February 13, 2022 - 8:00 pm

Democrat here, as well, and I completely agree. The re-entry testing makes no sense for a variety of reasons. I am sure that I am not the only person who traveled internationally before the pandemic that is unwilling to risk being one of those horror stories that ends up being forced to quarantine in a foreign country. This is also coming from someone who has already received a false positive PCR test in the past.

Jack February 10, 2022 - 9:29 pm

“they asked that vaccinated Americans returning to the U.S. from abroad be exempt from the required pre-flight testing” ……. does this mean that ASTA wants vaccinated non Americans ( tourists ) to undergo PCR tests before visiting the US ?

SharonKurheg February 10, 2022 - 10:33 pm

The PDF link of their letter explains their request 😉

John b February 14, 2022 - 12:50 am Reply

Leave a Comment