WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to new reports, the Biden Administration is “actively looking” into the possibility of making COVID-19 testing mandatory for anyone traveling via U.S. domestic air flights as a means to help curb the spread of the ongoing pandemic.
Dr. Marty Cetron, director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was conducting a phone interview with reporters when he was asked about potential new measures being taken to ensure that domestic travel remains safe, including the possibility of testing requirements.
Cetron replied, saying that CDC officials are having “conversations that are ongoing and looking at what the types and locations of testing might be… We’re actively looking at it.”
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“We realize that there’s been a dramatic evolution and increase in both testing platforms and testing capacity,” Cetron added. “I think this is a really important part of our toolkit to combat this pandemic.”
It was reported last week that President Joe Biden had asked officials in his Administration for recommendations to “impose additional public health measures for domestic travel” in addition to imposing new requirements on people crossing land-based borders. At that time, the idea of COVID testing for flying was already being floated by officials.
Officials representing airlines have already expressed fear that a blanket COVID-19 testing requirement for all domestic air travelers would further hurt their business, which has already seen a massive drop due to the ongoing pandemic.
The CDC has already imposed new rules on international air travel that went into effect this Tuesday. Under the new rules, all passengers on international flights entering the United States aged two and up must be able to provide proof that they have had a negative COVID testing result within three calendar days of their flight, or proof that they have completely recovered from the virus if they had previously been sick.
There are no exemptions from this rule, the CDC said; acting Assistant Secretary of State Ian Brownlee was quoted as telling reporters that now is simply not the time for unnecessary international travel.
“Main message to U.S. citizens considering travel abroad remains the same: Seriously reconsider going overseas right now,” he said. “If you’re overseas right now, it’s going to be harder to come home for a while.”