Goodbye travel bans, hello vaccine requirements.
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The U.S. government will finally do away with its cobbled together travel bans in favor of a standardized policy. The current ban which restricts access to foreigners from 33 countries (including the UK, Brazil, and many EU countries) will be lifted in early November, and all foreigners will be allowed to enter the United States provided that they are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated Americans returning to the U.S. will also be allowed to return home, but will be required to go through additional testing measures.
In a White House press briefing, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients announced the changes, saying, “vaccines continue to show that they’re highly effective, including against the delta variant, and the new system allows us to implement strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
“This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans and international air travel safe,” Zients told reporters. “By requiring foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated in order to fly to the United States and in implementing additional strict safety protocols, we will protect Americans here at home and enhance the safety of international travel.
“This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach.”
Like more and more countries, the United States will require that all non-Americans be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers will be required to take a Coronavirus test up to three days before their flight to the United States and will have to present a negative result at the airport. They will also need to provide some form of contact information for contact tracing purposes. On the upside, there will be no need to quarantine on entry into the United States. No details have been provided yet as to which vaccines will be accepted, but we would not doubt that major brands not approved in the U.S. will be accepted. Brands like AstraZeneca and Sinopharm are widely used across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, but are still not approved for use in the U.S.
Vaccinated Americans will enjoy the same benefits as above, but non-vaccinated Americans will have to test before boarding their flight to the U.S., and on arrival. Previously, returning Americans had up to three days to test for COVID-19 before departing, but the changes will be a bit more restrictive.
There are no details yet as to how arriving travelers will be tested, but may be prove more beneficial to get vaccinated as getting a test and results back within 24 hours before travel could be very tricky in some countries. There is also no word yet how they will treat with situations such as children who cannot be vaccinated, or adults who have been medically exempted from taking the vaccine.
Land border policies between Canada and Mexico remain largely unchanged and will be revisited at another time.
[Featured Photo: Pixabay]