United States confirms new COVID-19 travel rules
The Biden administration has confirmed that people protected by COVID vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization – including AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac – can take advantage of relaxed travel restrictions to the United States from November 8.
People who have received recognized mixed vaccines will also be accepted, but Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, which has been widely used in some countries, is not included.
US President Joe Biden this week signed a proclamation that lifts severe travel restrictions on 26 Schengen countries in Europe as well as Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
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“It is in the interest of the United States to move away from the country-by-country restrictions previously applied during the Covid-19 pandemic and to adopt an air transport policy that relies mainly on vaccination to advance the recovery in safe international air travel. in the United States, ”the proclamation said.
The new rules contain requirements that airlines must follow to confirm that foreigners arriving in the United States have been vaccinated.
International visitors will need to provide official vaccination documents and must have received the last dose at least two weeks before travel. Anyone who lies about their immunization status is committing a criminal offense.
They will also need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours of departure.
The new guidelines exempt children under 18 from vaccine requirements as well as people with medical conditions. However, there is no exemption for people refusing to be vaccinated for religious reasons.
Also exempt are non-tourist arrivals from about 50 countries where there are vaccine shortages and immunization rates below 10 percent. But they will need to have a government letter authorizing travel for a compelling reason, get vaccinated within 60 days of arrival, and provide a negative test within one day of departure.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will verify passenger compliance and publish new contact tracing rules requiring airlines to collect information such as phone numbers, email addresses, and contact details. U.S. addresses and keep them for 30 days for tracking. is necessary.
“This will allow airlines to better coordinate with public health agencies to share information as necessary to ensure public safety and information, and strengthen their ability to quickly identify and contact people in the United States who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, such as COVID-19, “the CDC said in a statement.
The Airlines for America (A4A) industry trade group welcomed the changes.
U.S. airlines have been strong advocates of an individual risk-based system to safely ease travel restrictions, and we recognize that the safe reopening of borders is essential for our nation’s economic recovery.
“The complete reopening of international travel is also key to reviving economies around the world, invigorating communities and supporting millions of jobs in the United States and abroad.
“We have seen an increase in ticket sales for international travel over the past few weeks and look forward to safely starting to reunite the countless families, friends and colleagues who have not seen each other for nearly two years or more. . “