The Biden administration is “actively looking” into implementing mandatory COVID-19 testing for domestic flights, a senior official told reporters Tuesday.
There are “conversations that are ongoing and looking at what the types and locations of testing might be… We’re actively looking at it,” Dr. Marty Cetron, director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said when asked whether the Biden administration would implement a testing requirement for domestic travel, Reuters reported.
Last week, Biden asked U.S. agencies for recommendations to “impose additional public health measures for domestic travel,” including the mandatory COVID-19 testing requirement for all domestic travelers, Reuters reported.
“We realize that there’s been a dramatic evolution and increase in both testing platforms and testing capacity. I think this is a really important part of our toolkit to combat this pandemic,” Cetron said to reporters.
The measure would be far from unprecedented as the CDC has already put testing requirements in place for international travel, requiring all persons two-years of age or older to test negative for coronavirus within three days of their travel date or to have previously recovered from the disease with documented proof, Reuters reported.
“Now is not the time to travel, but if you must, be safe and follow the CDC guidelines” CDC director Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a Wednesday press briefing.
Walensky’s plea for Americans to avoid traveling unless absolutely necessary is consistent with the Biden’s administration’s wider strategy to curtail the spread of COVID, particularly international travel restrictions.
On Jan. 26 CDC Traveler Health reminded Americans in a tweet to avoid travel as it increases one’s risk of contracting the disease.
Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading #COVID19. If you must travel, check the COVID-19 level at your destination and take steps to protect yourself and others before, during and after travel: https://t.co/SBxTlr2uJa pic.twitter.com/va4OsOsqRL
— CDC Travel Health (@CDCtravel) January 26, 2021
The CDC has reportedly discussed a potential domestic testing requirement with airline officials, leading to widespread angst as consumer demand for airline travel remains low, Reuters reported.