USA: Biden Rules Out Testing on Domestic Flights and New CDC Guideline for the Vaccinated
The United States has ruled out the idea to implement COVID-19 testing for domestic flights. The Biden administration announced 12 February that the Center For Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend the testing and science doesn’t support the measure.
The announcement comes as welcome news to the millions of Americans that are expected to travel within the country over spring break.
At this time, CDC is not recommending required point of departure testing for domestic travel.CDC statement
As part of our close monitoring of the pandemic, in particular the continued spread of variants, we will continue to review public health options for containing and mitigating spread of COVID-19 in the travel space.
Airlines Against Domestic Testing
After reports were made that the Biden administration is considering the possibility of pre-flight testing requirements for domestic travel, airline executives voiced their frustration.
While many believed domestic testing could help detect cases of COVID-19 and prevent further spreading, the rule was met with concern by The US Travel Association. It called the idea impractical, and expressed fears that it could divert public health resources away from areas where they may be better served.
The airline industry has been financially crippled by the pandemic and is wary of new travel restrictions that could cause further difficulties.
Incoming International Passengers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the implementation of COVID-19 testing requirements for all international arrivals by air to the U.S.
The new testing requirements are mandatory upon all travellers, over the age of two, arriving in the US on international flights, including US citizens and residents.
This also applies to travellers on private jets and chartered flights.
Sharp Decrease in Cases
U.S. cases of COVID-19 and hospitalisation rates have fallen significantly over the last month and the vaccination rollouts continue to speed up.
While the United States is showing signs of progress in dealing with COVID-19, more contagious variants of the disease threaten to further draw out the pandemic. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the variant found originally in the United Kingdom could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by the end of March.
Although the numbers continue a downward trajectory, experts say now is not the time for the people to let down its guard
The Fully Vaccinated
People who have received the full course of COVID-19 vaccines can skip the standard 14-day quarantine after exposure to someone with the infection as long as they remain asymptomatic, U.S. public health officials advised.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late on 10 February the vaccines have been shown to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, thought to play a greater role in the transmission of the virus than asymptomatic disease.
The CDC recommends vaccinated people still wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid poorly ventilated spaces and crowds. That is because there is still limited information on whether the vaccine can prevent transmission and how long it confers protection against the virus.
As more study data on transmission is released, and as more people are vaccinated, these recommendations could change.
With the progress of vaccination across the globe, hopefully, this is a sign that the Biden administration will recognise “vaccine passport” and partially lift the COVID-19 travel ban to allow vaccinated tourists to enter the country.
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