International travelers flying to the United States are no longer required to test negative for COVID-19 before they can enter the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) got rid of the 17-month-old requirement at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky issued an order lifting the mandate saying it is “not currently necessary.”
“On December 02, 2021, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) amended its October 25, 2021 Amended Order, titled, ‘Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States,’” the CDC said.
“As of 12:01AM ET on June 12, 2022, CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight,” the agency said.
The move comes as COVID cases are back up and the World Health Organization (WHO) is issuing new warnings.
The COVID-19 pandemic is “most certainly not over,” WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned late last month, according to UN News.
The WHO head said, “We lower our guard at our peril.”
“‘So, is COVID-19 over? No, it’s most certainly not over. I know that’s not the message you want to hear, and it’s definitely not the message I want to deliver,’” he said.
Ghebreyesus told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the WHO’s annual meeting that declining testing and sequencing means “‘we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.’” In addition, he said that while billions are vaccinated against the virus, nearly one billion people in lower-income countries still are not.
While some 60% of the world’s population is vaccinated, he said, “‘it’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere.’”
Ghebreyesus mentioned, “‘reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions,’” the UN reported.
“‘ … And this in a world in which testing rates have plummeted,’” the WHO head added.
He noted that the virus is spreading rapidly in Africa, where the vaccination rate is the lowest worldwide. And he said while there appears to be ample supply of the vaccine, there is “‘insufficient political commitment to roll out vaccines’” in some countries, while there remain gaps in “‘operational or financial capacity’” in other nations.
“‘In all, we see vaccine hesitancy driven by misinformation and disinformation,’” Ghebreyesus said. “‘The pandemic will not magically disappear. But we can end it. We have the knowledge. We have the tools. Science has given us the upper hand,’” he said, calling on countries to work together to reach 70% of vaccination coverage.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as a White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.