Travel industry and airlines urge end to COVID testing to enter US

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Travelers line up to get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a pop-up clinic at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, California, U.S., December 22, 2021. REUTERS/ Bing Guan

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WASHINGTON, May 5 (Reuters) – Major U.S. airlines, business and travel groups and other companies on Thursday urged the White House to drop pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated international passengers traveling to the United States.

“Given the slow economic recovery in the international business and travel sectors, and in light of medical advances and improving public health measures in the United States, we encourage you to immediately remove the requirement testing on arrival for vaccinated air travellers,” reads the signed letter. by American Airlines (AAL.O), Carnival Corp (CCL.N), Marriott International (MAR.O), Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) Disney Parks, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the US Travel Association and others.

Airline executives say many Americans are not traveling overseas for fear they will test positive and be stranded abroad.

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The letter to White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha said “the economic costs associated with maintaining the measure are significant”, indicating that international travel spending has fallen by 78% compared to 2019 levels.

The letter noted that many foreign governments “had similar infection, vaccination and hospitalization rates, including

the UK, Germany and Canada have eliminated pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated travellers. »

The letter said the Biden administration does not require negative tests for entry at land border ports of entry with Canada and Mexico, but only for air travelers.

The White House did not immediately comment.

On April 18, a federal judge declared the 14-month transportation mask warrant illegal, and the Biden administration quickly stopped enforcing the rules on planes and at transit hubs like airports.

In December, the Biden administration imposed new, stricter rules requiring international air travelers arriving in the United States to obtain a negative COVID-19 test within a day of travel.

Under the previous rules, vaccinated international air travelers could present a negative test result obtained within three days of their day of departure.

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Reporting by David Shepardson, editing by Franklin Paul and Marguerita Choy

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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