Biden Administration ‘Actively Looking’ at COVID-19 Test Mandate for Domestic Air Travel

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden joined by his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., replaces his face mask after speaking at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

CDC Dr. Marty Cetron confirmed the organization is “actively looking” at whether COVID-19 testing should be mandated for domestic U.S. flights on Wednesday.

Reporters on a Wednesday conference call asked Dr. Marty Cetron, director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at CDC, about the possibility of new domestic travel testing requirements. Cetron said “conversations [are] ongoing and looking at what the types and locations of testing might be… We’re actively looking at it.”

Those conversations are a result of President Joe Biden’s request for U.S. agencies to offer his administration recommendations on whether to “impose additional public health measures for domestic travel,” including both land and air. Cetron said “a dramatic evolution and increase in both testing platforms and testing capacity” could be “a really important part of our toolkit to combat this pandemic.”

New CDC rules are already taking effect: On Tuesday, a mandate for almost all international air travelers entering the United States aged two years and older to provide a negative COVID-19 test — taken within three days of their date of departure — took effect. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Ian Brownlee confirmed, however, that the CDC was “not at this time issuing federal quarantine orders” after arrival, despite recommending a week of isolation.

As far as international travel is concerned, Brownlee stressed the same guidance that has been given for much of the pandemic: “[Our] main message to U.S. citizens considering travel abroad remains the same: Seriously reconsider going overseas right now. If you’re overseas right now, it’s going to be harder to come home for a while.”

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