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US travel restrictions to be eased early November: White House
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 09 - 2021

Travel restrictions will be eased for travelers to the US as long as they are vaccinated in November, including those from the UK and EU, the White House disclosed Monday.
"Beginning in early November, foreign nationals flying to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated — fully vaccinated and they must show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a US-bound airplane," White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said during a press briefing.
"This vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus."
He also pointed out that the CDC would be issuing a contact tracing order to collect US-bound passenger's information, in order for state and local health officials to follow up on potential exposure to COVID-19 and other pathogens.
"We will protect Americans here at home and enhance the safety of international travel — fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine," he noted.
Noncitizens visiting the United States will have to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test taken within three days of departure, said Jeff Zients, who is leading the nation's COVID response efforts for the White House.
The changes will take effect in early November, which the airline industry expects will spur holiday bookings.
"They must show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a US-bound airplane," Zients said during a press briefing.
Airlines and other travel industry groups have clamored for the US to lift the restrictions for months.
The Trump administration had first issued the rules, which now apply to more than 30 countries, in March 2020. President Joe Biden upheld those rules in January, shortly after taking office.
The Biden administration is also tightening rules for unvaccinated US citizens returning home. They will need to test one day before departure and test again after returning.
European and British officials have lifted entry bans for US and other visitors since vaccines became widely available this spring, but the Biden administration hadn't reciprocated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also require airlines to collect and provide passenger information to aid contract tracing.
"In the coming weeks, CDC will be issuing a contact tracing order requiring airlines to collect current information for each US-bound traveler, including their phone number and email address," Zients said.
There will be few exemptions to the vaccination requirements for foreign visitors, such as for children not yet eligible to be vaccinated, according to a person familiar with the White House's strategy, but full details of the policy have not yet been released.
Monday's announcement came after the peak summer travel season but it could mean stronger demand for end-of-year holiday trips. Airlines have been using some of their biggest planes, normally reserved for international trips, for domestic routes, a trend that could quickly change if demand from abroad rises with the new rules.
The United States currently bars most non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. — Agencies


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