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All international arrivals into the U.S. are now required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The Biden administration is also “actively looking” at mandating negative tests for domestic travel — and the travel industry isn’t pleased.

Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, released a statement on Jan. 29 calling the potential move “unwarranted.” The airlines also said the move would “disproportionately prevent” low-income and rural Americans who may not have access to pre-travel testing from traveling.

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“Given the strong scientific evidence that the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard an aircraft is very low,” A4A said in a letter to Jeffrey Zient, the White House’s COVID-19 Recovery Team Coordinator, “we believe that a testing requirement for domestic air travel is unwarranted.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that most viruses don’t spread easily on flights because of air circulation. However, the agency also noted that social distancing would be difficult on packed flights, and being in an enclosed space for hours “may increase” your risk of catching the virus.

The airlines praised certain aspects of President Biden’s executive order that mandated masks for interstate travel and pre-departure testing for international arrivals.

Video: Strict Protocol And Special Security In Place For Transport Of COVID-19 Vaccine At O’Hare (CBS Chicago)

Strict Protocol And Special Security In Place For Transport Of COVID-19 Vaccine At O’Hare

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Related: What it was like flying home now that the US requires a negative COVID-19 test

A CDC official told Reuters there are “conversations that are ongoing and looking at what the types and locations of testing might be. We’re actively looking at it.”

In President Biden’s first days in office, he introduced a mask mandate that requires masks be worn while traveling domestically at airports, commercial aircraft, trains and public maritime vessels. The mask mandate also applies to intercity buses and on all forms of public transportation.

The U.S. government also issued new warnings to citizens about traveling internationally, saying that travelers should “reconsider non-essential travel abroad.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also announced that all passengers must wear a face mask while on public transportation, including airplanes, trains, buses, taxis and rideshares. This new order gives more power to frontline workers like flight attendants to remove passengers for not wearing a mask, which violates federal law.

Featured photo by Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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