The U.S. Centers of Disease Control recently announced that it isn’t ready to lift the testing requirements for all incoming travelers that are currently in place.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky spoke to a reporter at Yahoo Finance earlier this week, sharing that she is “cautiously optimistic” about the recent drop in Covid hospitalizations in the United States, because the drop is coming from a very high level.
While cases spiked heavily over the holiday season, hospitalizations remain at a high point as we pass this Omicron wave. She clarified that, “We came down from a very high level and our hospitalizations right now are higher than they ever were during the peak of our Delta surge.”
‘We’re Not Quite Ready To Do So Yet’, Says CDC Director
When asked about changing direction on the testing requirements that are still in place for international arrivals to the country, Dr. Walensky said that the CDC isn’t there yet.
“So, while we will look down the field and say ‘what does this look like?’ and ‘how can we relax some of our mitigation strategies?’ first we always need to be prepared for what may come around the corner. Second, we’re not quite ready to do so yet.”
Announcement Comes After States Ease Certain Covid Restrictions
This week’s update comes as some states across the country are lifting mask mandates in certain indoor settings and rolling back on other Covid precautions put in place throughout the pandemic.
As we approach the two-year mark of this pandemic, many are asking where we are going to go collectively as we continue to deal with this virus.
And as some restrictions are being eased on the domestic front, some countries in Europe, including the U.K., Greece, Portugal and France have announced they are removing testing requirements for fully vaccinated international travelers.
ASTA Request For Testing Requirements To Be Scraped – Information For Travelers
And just last week, the president and CEO of the American Society of Travelers (ASTA) sent a request in the form of a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s official Covid recovery team coordinator.
The request was to scrap the pre-departure Covid testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers coming to the U.S. The letter stated that, “Doing so is justified by the pervasiveness of Covid cases in all 50 states, increased immunity, and higher vaccination rates as well as new treatments.”
Once that first letter was issued, other institutions in the travel industry followed suit. The U.S. Travel Association, Airlines for America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, International Air Transport Association, Aerospace Industries Association were among the ones that also asked the White House to remove the testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers to the U.S.
The 24-hour window for the current pre-departure testing requirement that was put in place late last year has proven to be stressful for travelers, not to mention a continued hindrance on the travel industry.
According to an ASTA representative, pre-departure testing requirements are the “single biggest barrier to the full recovery of the international travel system.” There’s been no word so far from the White House in response to the request.
CDC Do Not Travel List – Update
Earlier this week, the CDC added 7 more destinations to its weekly “Do Not Travel” list update for country health risk level. The “very high-risk” or “Do Not Travel” list is now at a total of 135 countries, which is the longest its ever been. 15 countries were added to the list at the beginning of February, including Mexico.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com