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COVID test no longer needed to enter the US starting Sunday

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International travelers will no longer have to produce a negative COVID-19 test to get into the US, officials said Friday morning, a rule change celebrated by a lagging travel industry as well as countless stressed-out passengers dreading a last-minute scramble to get swabbed overseas.

The change will go into effect on Sunday.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was expected to make a formal announcement Friday.

Since October, travelers entering the US have had to show a negative test results taken no more than one day before travel, often at a cost of $ 50 or more. It is a requirement that many countries have abandoned in recent months.

The COVID testing reprieve is “tremendous,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association.

The policy change is expected to bring an additional 5.4 million international visitors to the US and $ 9 billion more in travel spending, he said. This year, he expects over 1.8 million international arrivals to San Francisco, up 124% from 2021.

“Now travelers from other countries will be more confident in booking business trips and vacations to the US,” he said in a statement, adding it will be a boon for the city and its businesses. “This will benefit San Francisco, which has always been one of the most popular destinations for international travelers.”

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The CDC reportedly has determined that the negative test requirement, which went into effect last year, is no longer necessary given case rate data and ongoing research. Still, the agency is expected to reassess its decision in 90 days and will reinstate the mandate if officials decide it is necessary.

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