(CNN) – The Biden government is considering a rule requiring negative Covid-19 test results for household air travelAccording to Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Buttigieg mentioned the possible test requirement for air travelers within the United States in a Sunday interview with “Axios on HBO.”

“At the moment there is an active discussion with the CDC,” Buttigieg told Axios. “What I can tell you is that it will be based on data, science, medicine, and input from the people who actually need to do this.”

On Monday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said screening U.S. travelers for Covid-19 could be helpful. However, she did not comment on whether there are any plans to test domestic travelers.

“To the extent that we have tests available to primarily do tests, I would really encourage people not to travel,” Walensky said during a White House briefing. “But if we’re on the way, this would be another remedy to reduce the spread.”

Domestic and international tests

The discussion follows a CDC rule that went into effect in late January and provided for negative Covid-19 tests for international travelers, US citizens and US residents.

The US Travel Association, a national not-for-profit organization, called this rule “key to reopening international travel” for inbound travelers.

However, the group does not support a test requirement for domestic air travelers.

The group called mandatory tests for domestic travelers “impractical” noting that there are no defined ports of entry and that such an action “could divert scarce public health resources from other priorities”.

Other groups raise concerns

The industry association Airlines for America has also raised concerns about possible testing requirements for domestic flights.

In a recent letter to the White House, the organization highlighted the risk-based measures the industry has taken to curb Covid-19 transmission and research shows that the risk of in-flight infection is low.

“Given the strong scientific evidence that the risk of Covid-19 transmission on board an aircraft is very low, we believe a domestic flight testing requirement is not warranted,” the letter said.

“In addition, public health and economic data suggest that these policies would disproportionately discourage low-income travelers and rural Americans in small communities from traveling.”

A4A also reiterated the US Travel Association’s concern that such testing would divert resources from more pressing public health priorities.

The CNN wire
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