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US to ease Covid travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals

Speaking on Monday, White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said the US will proceed to ease restrictions on inbound international travel from early November, when it will only let vaccinated foreign nationals enter the country. The new policy would replace the current patchwork of measures which restrict travel depending on the country of departure.

Fully vaccinated foreign nationals will not be required to quarantine upon arrival in the US. However, the Biden administration will introduce strict measures for unvaccinated Americans, who will be required to be tested for Covid-19 a day before returning to the US and when they’re back in the country. 

“This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” Zients said. He did not elaborate on which vaccines would be applicable for the scheme, noting that it was a decision for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC will also require airlines to collect and report passenger data for the purpose of contact tracing. Zients added that exceptions will apply to children not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

Washington’s current policy prohibits entry by non-Americans who had been in Britain, the EU, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil, during the past 14 days. The policy had been introduced during the Trump administration and was strengthened by his successor to the White House, President Joe Biden, in an attempt to minimize imported Covid-19 cases.

The aviation industry had lobbied for the ban to be removed in time for the summer holiday season.

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