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US lifts covid test requirement for international flyers
Vaccination and face mask are still required. The decision to lift test requirement will be reviewed by the CDC in 90 days. The measure, introduced by the Trump administration, aimed to curb the spread of the disease. However, the aviation industry blamed the curbs for the depression in travel business. Health experts also had differed on the effectiveness of the test requirement, saying that it was not worth the trouble for flyers and the airlines.

WASHINGTON, June 13: Bowing to pressure from the travel industry, the US has lifted the covid test requirement for international flyers arriving in the country. With effect from Sunday, the air travellers need not produce a negative covid test report. The decision will be reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 90 days, according to the administration.

The Trump administration had imposed the restriction which took effect on January 26 last year as the pandemic swept across the US. The measure aimed to curb the spread of the disease.

However, the airlines blamed the measure for depressing ticket purchases. Congressmen too had advocated for lifting the requirement in recent weeks. Travel industry representatives had met White House officials last week to press for the relaxation.

In a statement to CNN, the CDC said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has now shifted to a new phase, due to the widespread uptake of highly effective Covid-19 vaccines, the availability of effective therapeutics, and the accrual of high rates of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity at the population level in the United States. Each of these measures has contributed to lower risk of severe disease and death across the United States."

The air travellers were required to produce a negative report of covid test taken within a day of their departure to the US. However, the flyers will still require vaccination against covid to enter the country. They will also have to wear the face mask.

Experts in fact had differed on the effectiveness of the test requirement in combating the pandemic saying that it was not worth the trouble for the flyers as well as airlines. According to reports, the domestic air traffic had recently picked up to pre-pandemic level, the international arrivals had remained sluggish because of the curbs.

“With the widespread availability of effective treatment options and vaccines, we believe this is the right time for this decision,” American Airlines said in a statement about the decision to lift the testing requirement.

The US Travel Association said in an emailed statement: “The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the US travel industry.”

The travel industry contributes to a large segment of US labour force.

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