Virus Outbreak

FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2021, file photo, two Red Cross volunteers help a man to activate his pass on the TousAntiCovid application in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France. In both the U.S. and the EU, officials are struggling with the same question: how to boost vaccination rates to the max and end a pandemic that has repeatedly thwarted efforts to control it. In the European Union, officials in many places are requiring people to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from COVID-19 to participate in everyday activities — even sometimes to go to work. (AP Photo/Adrienne Surprenant, File)

WASHINGTON — The US said Monday it will ease airline restrictions this fall on travel to the country for people who have vaccination proof and a negative COVID-19 test, replacing a hodgepodge of rules that had kept out many non-citizens and irritated allies in Europe and beyond where virus cases are far lower.

The changes, to take effect in November, will allow families and others who have been separated by the travel restrictions for 18 months to plan for long-awaited reunifications and allow foreigners with work permits to get back to their jobs in the US

Airlines, business groups and travelers cheered.

“It’s a happy day. Big Apple, here I come!” said French entrepreneur Stephane Le Breton, 45, finally able to book a trip to New York City that had been put on hold over the virus restrictions.

The new policy will replace a patchwork of travel bans first instituted by President Donald Trump last year and tightened by President Joe Biden that restrict travel by non-citizens who have in the prior 14 days been in the United Kingdom, European Union, China, India, Iran, Republic of Ireland, Brazil or South Africa.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced the new policies, which still will require all foreign travelers flying to the US to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of flight. Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before returning to the US, as well as after they arrive home.

The tougher rules for unvaccinated Americans come as the White House has moved to impose sweeping vaccination-or-testing requirements affecting as many as 100 million people in an effort to encourage holdouts to

get shots.

Fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine, Zients said.

There will be no immediate change to US land border policies, which restrict much cross-border travel with Mexico and Canada.

The travel bans had become the source of growing geopolitical frustration, particularly among allies in the UK and EU. The easing comes ahead of Biden meeting with some European leaders on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly this week.

“This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” Zients said.

The EU and UK had previously moved to allow vaccinated US travelers in without quarantines, in an effort to boost business and tourism. But the EU recommended last month that some travel restrictions be reimposed on US travelers to the bloc because of the rampant spread of the delta variant of the Coronavirus in America.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require airlines to collect contact information from international travelers to facilitate tracing, Zients said.

It was not immediately clear which vaccines would be acceptable under the US system and whether those unapproved in the US could be used.

(2) comments

Jimzan 2.0

Again...How much does the Vaccine cost..? and what's Biden's kickback amount from big Pharma...? You (John Q Public) not asking the cost of the vaccine, shows how obedient you are...Now Mask up and Kneel.

Jimzan 2.0

Either you ease virus restrictions, or you stand a chance of going out of business. CoVid has become a Joke...a Pathetic Joke. You had better fear AID's Hep C, and Typhoid fever just as well. With all the politicians "caught" not wearing their masks...are you that gullible (cowardly) as to still be living in total fear...? The politicians are not courageous...they are bottom feeding scum, and they know CoVid has become more of a political tool, than a issue of "major concern". The bigger the Coward..the harder they have been Played. All to get you to Mask Up and Kneel....peasant.

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