Newly installed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has suggested the federal government is considering a negative result from a test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 to board domestic passenger jets.
"There's an active conversation with the CDC right now,” Buttigieg told Axios on Monday. “What I can tell you is, it's going to be guided by data, by science, by medicine, and by the input of the people who are actually going to have to carry this out."
The suggestion – made by a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 26 – already had drawn criticism from aircraft manufacturer Boeing, who said in a letter Friday that any such regulation would have far ranging impacts.
“Imposing such a burden on the already financially beleaguered airline industry has the potential for severe unintended consequences that will ripple across the entire economy,” the company’s Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Stan Deal and Chief Aerospace Safety Officer Michael Delaney wrote in a letter seen by Reuters.
Several studies have said the risk of transmission on a plane is relatively low due to the downward air flow and their high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
Negative tests already are required for international travelers arriving from foreign countries, an order imposed by the CDC on Jan. 12.
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