“ASTA supports an accurate, rapid-response testing regime for airline travelers in lieu of mandatory quarantines and travel bans. However, requiring a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure will not ensure that COVID-19 will not spread. It is very possible to be infected within 72 hours of having received a negative test result. As the CDC has already acknowledged, on its own, the new testing regulation will not halt the virus’ spread due to lag time between test and flight, incubation period, and false positives.
"Implementing such a requirement without a rapid-response, reliable test threatens to create a logistical crisis. When travelers are stranded because they are unable to obtain an in-destination test in time for departure (if at all), this will set off a domino effect throughout the supply chain - stranded passengers missed connections, and canceled flights. The inability to procure a test and the uncertainty of being stranded will cause many travelers to postpone plans, resulting in further mental, emotional, and economic harm. At the least, the CDC should communicate its list of exempted destinations so that travel advisors and consumers can make informed decisions regarding their travel plans.
“Additionally, now that vaccines are available, we have a solution to ensure that travelers are protected. ASTA remains committed to advocating for more resources for vaccine distribution, increasing the capacity and timeliness of testing in our own backyard, and a federal mandate requiring masks in all public places.
“The CDC Director has said that wearing a mask is the single most important step you can take to protect yourself from the virus. This is why we have called on the incoming Biden Administration to require passengers to wear masks on all flights, foreign and domestic. Requiring virus testing when the global infrastructure to perform testing doesn’t exist will strain the travel economy further without addressing the problem at hand."
Image Credit: © AA
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