The Biden administration will lift travel restrictions from November on foreigners fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, ending a travel ban put in place to limit the spread of the disease and reopening the United States to relatives separated from their families. family and company employees.
Foreign travelers who provide proof that they are fully vaccinated before boarding a flight will be able to travel to the United States from “early November,” said Jeff Zients, the pandemic coordinator at the United States on Monday. White House.
“International travel is essential for connecting families and friends, for nurturing businesses large and small, for promoting the open exchange of ideas and culture,” Zients said. “That is why, with science and public health as a guide, we have developed a new international air transportation system that both improves the safety of Americans here at home and improves the safety of international air travel.”
The administration has restricted travel by foreigners wishing to travel to the United States from a group of European countries, Iran and China for more than a year. Fully vaccinated travelers will also need to show proof of a negative test for the coronavirus within three days before coming to the United States, Zients said.
Unvaccinated Americans abroad who wish to return home will face more stringent testing requirements. They will need to test negative for the coronavirus a day before traveling to the United States and will need to be tested again after arrival, Zients said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also soon issue an order directing airlines to collect phone numbers and email addresses of travelers for a new contact tracing system. Authorities will then follow up with travelers after their arrival to ask if they are showing symptoms of the virus.
The administration’s action came on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was expected to pressure Mr Biden to lift the ban. British officials had hoped the president would announce an easing of restrictions when he came to Cornwall, England in June for the Group of 7 summit meeting and were disappointed he did not. Their frustration has only worsened since then.
British officials note that the United States had not imposed a similar ban on people from Caribbean countries, which had a higher rate of infection than Britain, or from Argentina, which had a higher percentage. low of its vaccinated population. About 82% of people over 16 in Britain have had two injections.
The European Union and Britain have both allowed fully vaccinated people from the United States to travel without quarantine and officials there were upset when the United States did not reciprocate. .
The ban, EU officials say, has kept families separated since March 2020, when former President Donald J. Trump first announced it, as the coronavirus erupted across Europe. European countries have resisted a third wave of infections propelled by the Delta variant. But in several countries, including Britain, infection rates have started to stabilize and even decline.
Stephen Castle contributed reporting from London.