U.S. Considers Expanded Covid-19 Testing to Boost Overseas Travel

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The U.S. may boost Covid-19 testing for international passengers who come from destinations in addition to the U.K., in a bid to increase overseas travel.

Federal agencies have been in discussions with airlines about how to restore international air travel safely amid the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that passengers flying to the U.S. from the U.K. must test negative for the coronavirus before departing, following the discovery of a new variant of the disease that spreads more rapidly.

“Efforts are currently ongoing in the U.S. to assess the risk reduction associated with testing and other recommended preventative measures, determine what a feasible testing regime for air travel may look like, and gain some level of agreement on standards for a harmonized approach to testing for international air travel,” the CDC said in a statement Wednesday. The CDC’s comments were reported earlier by Reuters.

Airlines for America, a lobbying group, said it has been “advocating for the federal government to set a national standard on testing in order to lift travel restrictions” on flyers.

“We are working collaboratively with federal authorities to restore international travel with pre-flight Covid testing,” said Carter Yang, a spokesman for the group.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that it would “continue to work with our government partners as the situation evolves.”

The CDC now recommends that air travelers test negative for the virus one to three days before flying and again three to five days after travel. The agency says testing is critical to make renewed travel safe and to slow spread of the Covid virus.

Separately, Canada said it was working on testing rules of its own. The government is “finalizing the details” of pre-departure testing requirements for travelers flying to the country, Transport Canada said in a tweet.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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