The US is easing its coronavirus journey restrictions, reopening to passengers from the UK, EU and different nations.
From November, international travellers will likely be allowed to fly into the US if they’re totally vaccinated, and endure testing and phone tracing.
The US has had robust restrictions on journey in place since early final yr.
The transfer solutions a serious demand from European allies, and signifies that households and pals separated by the restrictions will be reunited.
“It is a pleased day – Huge Apple, right here I come!” French entrepreneur Stephane Le Breton advised the Related Press information company, as he regarded ahead to a visit to New York Metropolis that had been placed on maintain due to the restrictions.
White Home Covid-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients introduced the brand new guidelines on Monday, saying: “That is based mostly on people quite than a country-based method, so it is a stronger system.”
“Most significantly, international nationals flying to the US will likely be required to be totally vaccinated,” he stated.
US restrictions had been initially imposed on travellers from China in early 2020, after which prolonged to different international locations.
The present guidelines bar entry to most non-US residents who’ve been within the UK and various different European international locations, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil inside the final 14 days.
Beneath the brand new guidelines, international travellers might want to reveal proof of vaccination earlier than flying, receive a detrimental Covid-19 take a look at outcome inside three days of travelling, and supply their contact info. They won’t be required to quarantine.
Officers stated there could be some exceptions to the brand new coverage, together with for youngsters who will not be eligible to be vaccinated.
It was not instantly clear if the brand new guidelines utilized solely to US-approved vaccines, with Mr Zients saying this could be decided by the US Facilities for Illness Management.
A White Home supply advised the BBC that the query of whether or not individuals who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine or 12- to 18-year-olds who’ve solely had one jab could be allowed in underneath the brand new guidelines was a stage of “granular element” that was nonetheless being labored out, although this could have an effect on tens of millions.
Individuals who will not be totally vaccinated will nonetheless be capable to enter, however they may have to be examined earlier than their return to the US, and after they arrive house.
Mr Zients stated the coverage would come into impact in early November, however didn’t give an actual date.
The brand new guidelines don’t apply to land borders, which means that restrictions proceed to use to cross-border journey with Canada and Mexico.
The easing of journey guidelines got here as a shock to many, after the US authorities final week stated it was not the correct time to elevate the restrictions.
One British official advised the BBC on Monday that the choice had come fully out of the blue.
Following the announcement, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated he was “delighted”.
“It is a unbelievable increase for enterprise and commerce, and nice that household and pals on either side of the pond will be reunited as soon as once more,” he wrote on Twitter.
German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz additionally welcomed the change, saying it was “nice information for German and European investments, our exports and transatlantic relations”.
For months a joint working social gathering has been taking a look at methods to calm down the journey ban. The work, I am advised, has been detailed and assiduous.
However final Friday in Washington subsequent to nobody (not even within the Biden administration) was anticipating right this moment’s announcement. So what’s modified?
The Biden administration is conscious of the rising disquiet amongst European allies a couple of vary of points – Afghanistan notably, however in latest days French fury over the Aukus submarine deal. And keep in mind France is America’s oldest ally.
This week Joe Biden will likely be assembly not solely Boris Johnson, however an entire pile of EU leaders throughout the UN Basic Meeting in New York. And all had it on their dance playing cards to lift the journey ban.
Based on one diplomatic supply, the US over the weekend simply weighed the countervailing forces: annoy some Individuals with a coverage that might be characterised as being weak on Covid; or proceed to alienate your European allies who’re rising more and more irritable.
With the information now not supporting the ban, this weekend got here a call. Out of the blue in a method, however fairly logical in one other.
Airline shares rose in response to the brand new journey guidelines, with British Airways proprietor IAG up as a lot as 10%.
Virgin Atlantic chief government Shai Weiss referred to as the transfer “a serious milestone” for journey restoration.
Doug Parker, chairman and CEO of American Airways, stated he welcomed the “science-based method” to lifting journey restrictions.
“With the shared objectives of well being and security all the time on the forefront, we’re trying ahead to welcoming extra clients again to simple, seamless worldwide journeys for enterprise, for leisure, and to reconnect with household and pals,” he stated.
Travellers additionally celebrated the modifications.
Phil White, a British entrepreneur who lives within the US, stated the choice would enable him to see his 23-year-old daughter who lives in London for the primary time for the reason that pandemic began.
“We’ve not been capable of see our daughter over this time. And that has been very, very, very tough for us,” he advised AFP information company.
He stated he instantly booked a flight for her daughter after the information concerning the change was confirmed. “[A]s a household we will be collectively for Thanksgiving, which is wonderful,” he added.
The US has recorded greater than 42 million coronavirus instances for the reason that pandemic started, and over 670,000 deaths.
In an interview with BBC World Information on Monday, White Home coronavirus adviser Dr Anthony Fauci urged extra Individuals to get vaccinated.
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