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The United States will extend the mask mandate on public transport by 15 days as the country’s main public health agency monitors a recent increase in coronavirus cases.

The federal mandate, which requires travelers on public transportation, including planes, trains and buses, to wear masks, was due to expire on April 18.

“In order to assess the potential impact of increased cases on serious illness, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health system capacity, the CDC order will remain in place for the time being,” they said. said the US Centers for Disease Control.

“The Transportation Security Administration has decided to extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, until May 3, 2022,” the CDC continued.

The public health agency also said it would change its international travel alert system so that travelers will only be warned to avoid visiting a country in extraordinary circumstances, such as the emergence of a dangerous new variant, rather than anywhere where the spread of Covid-19 is deemed to be very high. This Tier 4 category currently applies to a wide list of countries, including most of Europe and Australia.

The Biden administration has come under pressure from the travel industry and Republican politicians to lift the mask mandate. National airline executives have cited threats to the safety of airline employees, as they are essentially responsible for controlling mask-wearing.

The Transport Security Administration, which is responsible for airport security, said in March that government agencies were working with the CDC on “a revised policy framework” for when and under what circumstances masks should be required on public transportation. .

Covid-19 cases are “starting to go up a bit,” especially in areas such as northern New England, New York, Colorado and Washington, DC, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg epidemiologist David Dowdy said. School of Public Health. Philadelphia on Monday became the first major US city to reimpose an indoor mask mandate.

Airlines have also called for an end to pre-departure testing requirements for international travel. Their lifting should further increase travel demand.

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