The United States plans to ease travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated foreign visitors starting in November, said the White House today (September 20), relaxing a patchwork of bans that had begun to cause fury in Europe and replacing them with more uniform requirements for inbound international air passengers.
The lifting of blanket restrictions on travel to the US from certain countries will come as welcome news to thousands of foreign nationals with families in the United States who have been kept apart for almost the entire pandemic, reported CNN.
The new rules will require all foreign nationals arriving in the US to show proof of being fully vaccinated, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said.
He said the new rules would take effect in early November, a timeline that will give agencies and airlines "time to prepare."
In addition to requiring vaccination, the administration said it was taking other steps to mitigate spread of the virus in three other areas: testing, contact tracing and masking.
Fully vaccinated foreign nationals and American citizens returning to the US from abroad will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test within three days of their flight, and show proof of a negative result before boarding, reported The Financial Times.
Unvaccinated Americans returning to the US will be "subject to stricter testing requirements," Zients said, including a test within one day of departure and an additional test when they return.
However, fully vaccinated passengers will not be subject to any quarantine mandates upon arrival in the US, he added.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to issue a contact tracing order requiring airlines to collect information from US-bound travelers, including a phone number and email address, to alert travelers of potential exposure. Airlines will be required to keep contact tracing information for 30 days.