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10th Jun 2022

The US is getting rid of the pre-flight Covid test

Ellen Fitzpatrick

You previously needed a negative test.

The United States is planning to drop its requirement for all air passengers to provide a negative Covid-19 test ahead of departing.

The Biden administration has said that it will end pre-departure Covid-19 international air testing requirements starting from midnight on Sunday.

This follows on from heavy lobbying from airlines and the travel industry, a senior administration official told Reuters.

Prior this ruling, all passengers needed to show a negative Covid test taken shortly before travelling into the USA or proof of having recovered from the virus in the past 90 days.

The Biden administration are set to announce today that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer require pre-departure Covid-19 testing for anyone coming into the US.

This decision was “based on the science and data that this requirement is no longer necessary”.

The CDC will do a reassessment of this decision in 90 days, the official said.

Speaking to RTE about the update, Paul Hackett, president of the Irish Travel Agents’ Association, said it was “really good news” and now allows people to book trips without worrying about testing positive ahead of flying.

“There is huge demand from the Irish market for travel to the US. Not just for holidays, but for visits to friends and family,” he said.

“In fact, travel from Ireland to America is back up to about 90% of what it was before the pandemic.”

Since International travel fully reopened in the States in December, the CDC has required travellers to test negative within one day before flights to the United States but does not require testing for land border crossings.

The official said: “If there is a need to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement – including due to a new, concerning variant – CDC will not hesitate to act.”