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US Government Finally Eases on International Travel Restrictions

(Noted News) — After nearly 7 months of anti-COVID-19 measures hampering international travel to the U.S, the American government has announced its plan to end enhanced screenings at the 15 airports that international travelers have been required to land at.

According to a document seen by Reuters, the end in restrictions is scheduled for September 14, but its rollout could still be subject to changes should there be any new developments in the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

In February of 2020, the U.S government imposed new screening processes on anyone coming to the U.S from China, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Iran, the Schengen region of Europe, and banned almost every non-citizen who had been to those places.

Since then, all international travelers to the U.S have been funneled through 15 designated airports for enhanced screenings, a process which includes getting their temperature checked and answering questions regarding their health and about any possible symptoms that they may have been feeling. Before proceeding through passport control and customs, travelers have also been required to leave contact info should they need to be informed about any possible contact with infected travelers.

Yahoo News had previously reported on the end of screenings, but were not able to get a comment from The White House, the CDC, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, or the AMR. Yahoo News did claim however that a government official told them that the Transportation Security Administration had been briefed on the upcoming shut down of screenings.

The CDC and White House have feuded over which preventative measures to take at airports, and never actually came to any agreement on a protocol. The White House decided on contactless thermal scanning as the main part of the screening, whereas the CDC wanted more.

Martin Cetron, the CDC’s director of global mitigation and quarantine said:

“Thermal scanning as proposed is a poorly designed control and detection strategy as we have learned very clearly…We should be concentrating our CDC resources where there is impact and a probability of mission success.”

Any easing of restrictions on airports will be welcomed by the airline industry, and the economy at large. Following the imposition of COVID-19 restrictions and the vast uneasiness among travelers, airline stocks were massacred, erasing years of gains and massive chunks of market cap.

Boeing (BA), who accounts for about 1% of the American GDP, was trading around $350 before the COVID-19 restrictions, before plunging to a low of $89.

Boeing ended up having to walk away from a $4.2 billion deal with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer that would have given Boeing full control over Embraer’s commercial airplane units.

“It is deeply disappointing, but we had reached a point where continued negotiation was no longer helpful, and so we exercised the rights set out in the [deal agreement] to terminate the agreement,” Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told shareholders.

Calhoun also said he expects 2 or 3 years to pass before demand for air travel surpasses the levels of 2019, forcing the company to change their manufacturing strategy; Instead of continuing to manufacture larger planes like the 787 Dreamliner, they will be scrapping those orders and instead focusing on smaller crafts like the Max Airbus A320, as the demand no longer warrants high-capacity aircraft.

Boeing however, is lucky to be alive when compared to other airlines. Countless airlines around the world have been forced into insolvency and non-existence, including Avianca Holdings, Virgin Australia, RavnAir, Compass Airlines, and more.

The tanking of the airline industry even prompted Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), to panic sell all their holdings at the very bottom of the crash.

“The world has changed for the airlines. And I don’t know how it’s changed and I hope it corrects itself in a reasonably prompt way… I don’t know if Americans have now changed their habits or will change their habits because of the extended period… I think there are certain industries, and unfortunately, I think that the airline industry, among others, that are really hurt by a forced shutdown by events that are far beyond our control,” Buffett stated at a shareholders meeting in May.

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