President Joe Biden has ruled out requiring coronavirus tests for all passengers on domestic flights as of now, saying the scientific evidence doesn’t support implementing the measure.
A White House statement late Friday said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t recommending testing and that Biden will follow their lead.
“President Biden has taken a number of steps to make travel safer since coming into office, including requiring masking on all air travel and public transit, pre-departure testing for inbound international travel and self-quarantine and testing after international travel,” White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said in a statement. “At this time, CDC is not recommending required point of departure testing for domestic travel. As always, we will follow the science to bring this pandemic to an end.”
The statement comes after the notion of pre-flight testing was floated by CDC director Rochelle Walensky and by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who was asked about it and said it was an ongoing discussion with the CDC.
That touched off an outcry from airlines and unions, with the industry already under heavy pressure from a steep drop in travel due to the pandemic.
Earlier Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also cast doubt on the measure being imposed. “Reports that there is an intention to put in place new requirements such as testing are not accurate,” she said.
Also on Friday, the CDC issued guidance on ways to put students back in schools. The agency outlined mitigation strategies that include the proper use of masks, social distancing of six feet, strict cleaning and maintenance of classrooms, and rapid contact tracing. And while the guidance doesn’t mandate reopenings, the CDC calls it “critical for schools to open as safely and as quickly as possible for in-person learning.”
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