President Joe Biden’s COVID taskforce is all game trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus. A negative RT-PCR test result, among mandatory entry requirements, for international travelers flying into the US blocks the passage of the virus into the country. The Biden government is now considering new legislation to make COVID testing a mandatory pre-departure protocol for all passengers of domestic flights. Reportedly, the new president has already called for the agencies to “impose additional public health measures for domestic travel.”
Ascertaining President Biden’s plans to mandate pre-flight COVID testing for domestic travel, Dr. Marty Centron, a senior official at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that CDC is working with the new government’s COVID taskforce and “we are actively looking at what the types and locations of testing might be” if the testing protocol for domestic flights comes into effect.
We, at Indian Eagle, pondered over how Biden’s COVID testing protocol for domestic flights might impact those who are scheduled to travel to India next week or later.
Not all travelers take an RT-PCR test before their scheduled flights to India from the US, because some are undertaking an emergency trip to India, while some won’t get test results on time. There is an option to take a COVID test upon arrival at major ports of entry, like Delhi IGI Airport and Mumbai International Airport. If COVID testing becomes mandatory for domestic air travel in the US, and if your itinerary includes a domestic flight in the US, you will have to obey the protocol to undertake the journey.
Similarly, those who can travel to India without a negative RT-PCR test result under any of the four exemption categories may also be affected if President Biden makes COVID testing mandatory for domestic flights. Let’s elucidate this scenario with an instance. If you are traveling with kids (below 10 years) directly to Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, or Kochi, you, your spouse, and your kids are eligible for exemption (subject to approval on Air Suvidha) from COVID testing.
It means that you can travel without a negative RT-PCR test result directly to any of these destinations. But, if your itinerary requires you to travel on a domestic flight for the international connection, you won’t be able to take domestic travel without a negative COVID test report as per the legislation that Biden’s COVID taskforce is mulling over.