MONDAY, Sept. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Starting in November, the United States plans to lift travel restrictions on people coming from overseas who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
This move by the Biden administration will open the United States to relatives separated from families as well as business travelers. The restrictions, involving many European countries, China, Iran and Brazil, have been in place since March 2020, The New York Times reported.
Foreign travelers must provide proof of vaccination before getting on a flight to the United States starting in "early November," White House pandemic coordinator Jeff Zients told theTimes.
Fully vaccinated travelers will also have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within three days before coming to the United States, Zients said.
"International travel is critical to connecting families and friends, to fueling small and large businesses, to promoting the open exchange ideas and culture," he said. "That's why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans here at home and enhances the safety of international air travel."
Unvaccinated Americans looking to travel home from overseas will have stricter testing requirements. They must show a negative COVID-19 test the day before traveling to the United States and must be tested again after arrival, Zients said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue an order directing airlines to get passengers' phone numbers and email addresses for contact tracing, the Times reported. Authorities will then follow up with travelers to ask if they are having symptoms of the virus.
The Times reported that lifting of the ban is something British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been hoping for. British officials noted that the United States had not had similar bans on people from Caribbean nations, which had a higher infection rate than Britain, or from Argentina, which had a lower number of vaccinated people.
The European Union and Britain has let fully vaccinated people from the United States travel without quarantine and had been annoyed that the United States did not reciprocate, the Times said.
Former President Donald Trump imposed the ban as coronavirus was spreading across Europe. While European countries have seen a third wave of infection fueled by the Delta variant, rates in several countries have begun to level off and even decline.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about COVID-19 travel restrictions.
SOURCE: New York Times, Sept. 20, 2021