The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that travelers to the U.S. will no longer need to offer proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of their flight in order to enter the country.
The rule, which applies to all travelers, regardless of citizenship, was lifted Sunday at 12:01 a.m.
The CDC said in a statement that “the COVID-19 pandemic has now shifted to a new phase,” due to “the widespread uptake of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, the availability of effective therapeutics and the accrual of high rates of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity at the population level” that have “contributed to lower risk of severe illness and death across the United States.”
Almost 67 percent of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
The agency added that officials will continue to reassess the need for a testing requirement and will notify the public if the situation changes.
It also “continues to recommend that those travelers boarding a flight to the U.S. get tested for current infection with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) and not travel if they are sick.”
As a growing number of Americans have been taking off for international vacations in recent months, they’ve been contending with the U.S. requirement before boarding their return flights. That has often meant scrambling for viral tests at foreign clinics, then uploading the results to their airline’s websites. (When flights are delayed, travelers are given another 24 hours to use the same test results.) In some cases, travelers have found themselves quarantined in their destinations, at their own expense, after testing positive. (As an alternative to testing, travelers could also offer proof of recent recovery from COVID-19.)