US to end travel bans for vaccinated passengers

The easing of travel restrictions, imposed 18 months ago by Donald Trump as the Covid-19 pandemic first erupted, marks a significant shift by the US

The United States announced Monday it will lift Covid travel bans on all air passengers in November if they are fully vaccinated and undergo testing and contact tracing.

The unprecedented restrictions had kept relatives, friends and business people around the world separated for many months as the pandemic grinds on.

The easing of travel restrictions, imposed by Donald Trump 18 months ago as the Covid-19 pandemic first erupted, marks a significant shift by Biden and answers a major demand from European allies at a time of strained diplomatic relations.

“Most importantly, foreign nationals flying to the US will be required to be fully vaccinated,” Zients said.

Restrictions on vehicle movement from Canada and Mexico will remain in place. “We do not have any updates on the land border policies,” Zients said.

Americans not fully vaccinated will still be able to enter but only on testing negative within a day of travel.

“This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans’ international air travel safe,” Zients said.

Britain and Germany quickly welcomed the lifting of the near total ban. The German ambassador to the United States called it “great news.”

The announcement was also hailed by airlines, which have taken a huge hit during the pandemic shutdown.

And Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, said “we welcome the Biden administration’s science-based approach to begin lifting the restrictions.”

“This applies to all international travel,” Zients said.

The restriction has deeply irked EU and British authorities. On Monday, the European Union recommended that member states reimpose restrictions on American travelers who had earlier been free to enter if vaccinated.

It also comes as Washington and Paris spar bitterly over Australia’s sudden announcement that it will acquire US-built nuclear submarines as part of a new defense alliance, ditching a previous French contract for conventionally powered submarines.

However, US officials denied that the White House’s travel decision was an attempt to smooth ruffled French feathers.

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Originally published as US to end travel bans for vaccinated passengers

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