The United States will lift Covid-19 travel restrictions, allowing foreign visitors who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease to enter the country from November 8, reported Reuters.
Kevin Munoz, assistant press secretary at the White House, said in a tweet: “This announcement and date [November 8] applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”
The condition of being fully vaccinated is meant for “non-essential” trips such as for visiting family or for tourism. Unvaccinated travellers will continue to be permitted into the country for “essential” trips like they have been allowed for the last 18 months.
With this move, the White House has ended months-long ban on travel for non-US citizens. The ban first imposed by former President Donald Trump on visitors from China in January last year. This was later extended to other countries.
Officials said that people who have been administered vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization will qualify for travel by air under the new policy, reported AFP.
The FDA has approved vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen. Besides these, the WHO has approved vaccines developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca, known as Covishield in India, and China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac jabs.
The US administration has not announced the additional details of the new travel policy. But, officials had earlier said that vaccinated passengers will be need to get tested within three days before travel and airlines will have to install a contact tracing system.
In a statement, US Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow said that the November 8 date was “critically important for planning – for airlines, for travel-supported businesses, and for millions of travellers worldwide who will now advance plans to visit the United States once again”.
Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union’s ambassador to the US, termed the move to reopen land and air borders as “important and very welcome news”.
On September 20, the US had announced that it will remove travel restrictions without giving an exact date.