The US will elevate Covid-19 journey restrictions to permit totally vaccinated passengers from the UK and most European Union (EU) international locations to journey into the nation from early November, the White Home has introduced.
The transfer indicators the top of a journey ban imposed by Donald Trump greater than 18 months in the past within the early phases of the pandemic, and comes after intense lobbying from Brussels and London.
Along with the UK and the 26 Schengen international locations in Europe, the easing of restrictions may even apply to Eire, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India.
It was welcomed by Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, who tweeted: “It’s a implausible increase for enterprise and commerce, and nice that household and associates on either side of the pond may be reunited as soon as once more.”
Beneath present coverage, solely US residents, their instant households, inexperienced card holders and people with nationwide curiosity exemptions (NIE) can journey into the US if they’ve been within the UK or EU within the earlier two weeks.
The White Home coronavirus response coordinator, Jeff Zients, mentioned on Monday worldwide travellers would require proof of full vaccination earlier than boarding a flight and a unfavorable Covid-19 check inside 72 hours of departure. They won’t be required to quarantine upon arrival.
There might be some exceptions to the vaccine coverage together with for kids not but eligible to be vaccinated. The brand new guidelines don’t but apply to travellers crossing land borders with Mexico and Canada.
“This new worldwide journey system follows the science to maintain People and worldwide air journey secure,” Zients advised reporters. “By requiring international nationals to be totally vaccinated to be able to fly to the USA and in implementing extra strict security protocols, we are going to defend People right here at residence and improve the security of worldwide journey.
“That is based mostly on people fairly than a country-based strategy.”
The brand new coverage will take impact in “early November”, Zients added, to permit airways and journey companions time to arrange to implement the brand new protocols.
The federal Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) will difficulty a contact tracing order that obliges airways to gather a telephone quantity, e-mail deal with and different data from US-bound travellers.
Zients defined: “This can allow the CDC and state and native public well being officers to observe up with inbound vacationers and people round them if somebody has probably been uncovered to Covid-19.”
The modifications might be a part of a brand new journey system the US, together with up to date guidelines on contact tracing and masking that can imply unvaccinated People will face stricter testing necessities.
Restrictions have been first imposed on travellers from China in January 2020 by Trump after which prolonged to different international locations within the following months, with none clear metrics for a way and when to elevate them.
In April this yr Joe Biden added new restrictions on India, barring most non-Americans from getting into the US. He additionally reversed plans by Trump to elevate restrictions on European international locations.
This triggered rising frustration in Europe, particularly after its vaccination fee recovered from a sluggish begin to overtake that in America. Airways have been unsuccessful of their efforts to steer the White Home to elevate the restrictions for the summer time journey season.
Biden had been more likely to face renewed stress when he comes head to head with Johnson and different European leaders on the United Nations common meeting in New York this week. About 3.8 million British nationals visited the US yearly previous to the pandemic, in line with the international workplace.
Dame Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to Washington, mentioned: “At the moment’s journey announcement is nice information for households and companies on either side of the Atlantic. We’re grateful the US has acknowledged the progress the UK has made towards Covid-19, together with excessive vaccination charges and declining instances.”
She added: “This resolution signifies that extra Brits can reunite with family members in the USA, extra British holidaymakers can spend their hard-earned kilos within the American tourism sector, and extra enterprise exercise can increase each of our economies.”
A state division official denied that the change in coverage was an try and mollify Europe following the falling out between the US and France over the Aukus Australian submarine deal, which Washington negotiated with out Paris’s data, prompting France to recall its ambassador to the US.
Erica Barks-Ruggles, a senior official within the Bureau of Worldwide Group Affairs, mentioned: “That is actually pushed by the science of Covid and as extra individuals are being vaccinated world wide, we after all need folks to have the ability to journey extra freely.”
Talking throughout a briefing name with reporters forward of the United Nations common meeting, Barkes-Ruggles mentioned: “We’re actually at all times being pushed by the science, and we proceed to do this.”
The EU and UK had moved to permit vaccinated People travellers into their territories with out quarantines, in an effort to spice up enterprise and tourism journey. However the EU really useful final month that some journey restrictions be reimposed on US travellers due to the unfold of the Delta variant.
The US announcement additionally got here within the context of Biden pushing different international locations to hitch the US in donating vaccines to the worldwide Covax initiative. The president is ready to host a summit on the sidelines of the UN common meeting.