The US Will No Longer Do International Traveler Covid-19 Screenings

The CDC has just announced that it will stop performing the enhanced screening for international travelers when they arrive in the US. For the last few months, any travelers arriving from what is determined to be a high-risk country would be required to have a screening which included presenting a health declaration.

Changes for international travelers entering the US

From Monday 14 September, this enhanced screening for travelers will no longer be required, which also means that airports other than the 15 set up for screening could start to accept flights. Currently, flights can only arrive in 15 selected airports including JFK New York, Miami International, Florida and LAX, California. This change in regard to the screening opens up the possibility for a return of non-stop transatlantic flights.

Currently there is a long list of countries included in the US travel ban, which includes the UK and much of Europe. Instead of just completely removing the screening process altogether, the CDC explains that they are "taking a new approach to help keep international air passengers healthy".

The CDC has outlined plans to "develop a potential testing framework with international partners". This new development should hopefully pave the way for the US tourism industry to start moving again, while still looking at improved ways to prevent travelers bringing the infection into the US.

Instead of the current screening approach, health authorities are looking at better ways of capturing contact information and also want to put more emphasis on "pre-departure and post-arrival education".

Travel corridors are constantly changing

Although the US will potentially be opening up the opportunity for travelers to enter the US, many countries still have the US as a banned travel destination, as there are still high volumes of cases in the United States. There has already been quite a lot of debate over whether the US took the right approach in terms of the countries that they chose to exclude, with some countries with low numbers of cases included in the ban such as Germany and Iceland.

While this does seem like a step closer to normal international travel, changes such as these will be carefully monitored and the levels of cases in the different countries will be a key factor in any decisions involving future screening processes or bans. Across Europe, several countries have seen a second spike in the number of daily cases, so the US will be keeping a careful eye on the developments in these countries before they make any decisions to revise the ban list.

One thing that is unlikely to change is the requirement for international travelers to quarantine when they arrive in the US, although this hasn't been the easiest for officials to keep track of. Over the next few weeks and months, it is hoped that countries around the world will try to work closely together to come up with the best solution to allowing safe international travel, helping the tourism industry to get going again after a very challenging year.

Many travel agencies and airlines have already suffered to the extent that they have gone into administration, so the sooner safe international travel can resume, the more jobs will be saved in the tourism industry and the economy will also see the benefit. However, without a tested Covid-19 vaccine yet available, it could be a long time before the travel industry starts to get closer to the way it was operating prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

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