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COVID-19 test requirement dropped for international travelers to enter US

Officials with the Detroit Metropolitan Airport say they expect a 32% increase in passengers.

DETROIT — Starting Sunday, travelers flying into the US will no longer be required to have a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country.

The mandate first went into effect in January 2021.

Travel advisor Christianne Box said the update has been a long time coming.

"I was elated. I mean, we were absolutely jumping for joy here because we have been waiting in anticipation for this day to happen," she said.

It might just be one restriction lifted, but Box said many of her clients at Central Travel in Sylvania have gotten stuck in other countries because their COVID-19 test came back positive.

"It has created a lot of confusion and frustration for clients as well as for us agents trying to maintain what is the most up-to-date requirements for the destinations," Box said.

Officials with the Detroit Metropolitan Airport believe the move will bring an increase in travelers. You can read their full statement below:

"As air travel continues to pick up across the country, we expect a 32% increase in passengers at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport this year compared to 2021. We're eager to see if more international travelers will pass through DTW as a result of the COVID-19 testing requirement being lifted. At this point, it's too soon to tell."

The Biden administration put in place the testing requirement in January 2021. It came alongside a requirement that foreign, non-immigrant adults traveling to the United States need to be fully vaccinated, with limited exceptions.

Initially, the mandate allowed those who were fully vaccinated to show proof of a negative test within three days of travel, while those who were unvaccinated needed a test within one day of travel.                          

Then in November, as the omicron variant took hold, the Biden administration toughened its requirement and mandating all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to test within a day of travel into the United States.

The CDC is expected to reevaluate the need for the testing requirement every 90 days and it could be reinstated if a new variant of concern emerges. 

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