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US will end Covid-19 testing requirement for air travelers entering the country

The move, which CNN was first to report, will go into effect for US-bound air travelers at midnight on Sunday.

The CDC is lifting the restriction that the travel industry had lobbied against for months after determining it was no longer necessary “based on the science and data,” the official said. The CDC will reassess its decision in 90 days and if officials decide they need to reinstate it, because of a concerning new variant, for example, will do so. The measure has been in place since January 2021.

The official said the Biden administration plans to work with airlines to ensure a smooth transition with the change, but it will likely be a welcome move for most in the industry.

Travel industry officials have been increasingly critical of the requirement in recent weeks and directly urged the Biden administration to end the measure, arguing it was having a chilling effect on an already fragile economy, according to Airlines for America chief Nick Calio, whose group met recently with White House officials.

The travel industry, and some scientific experts, said the policy had been out of date for months.

Lawmakers, including Democrats, had also advocated for lifting the requirement in recent weeks.

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said, “I’m glad CDC suspended the burdensome coronavirus testing requirement for international travelers, and I’ll continue to do all I can to support the strong recovery of our hospitality industry.”

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