US requires foreign visitors to be ‘fully vaccinated’ against Covid-19 according to plan proposed by the White House

The Biden administration is working on a plan to require that foreigners who wish to travel legally to the United States be fully vaccinated against Covid, as a prerequisite for lifting current travel restrictions imposed at the start of the pandemic.

It includes part of a plan to reopen flights to the rest of the world “A phased approach means that over time, with few exceptions, foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) must be fully immunized.” An anonymous government official told Reuters on Wednesday. The new system is expected to be in place before the White House decides to lift travel restrictions imposed in March 2020 as an initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under current regulations, anyone who has visited Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the European Union’s Schengen area, Ireland or the United Kingdom within two weeks of their trip to the United States is prohibited. Air travelers must show evidence that they tested negative for Covid-19 no more than three days ago on arrival, regardless of their vaccination status.

It was also not clear when the restrictions could be lifted, and aviation officials told Reuters it would take time. “At least weeks, maybe months.”

Among the issues still under discussion are what vaccination guideline will be accepted and whether the agreement will recognize vaccines not authorized by US regulators. Only three vaccines, manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are currently licensed for emergency use in the United States.

The anonymous official who spoke to the agency could not answer whether the government plans to require the vaccination of visitors who cross the land border between Mexico and Canada, which remains officially closed to anyone but essential personnel, such as truck drivers or medical personnel.

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Critics noted that it was also unclear whether the rules would apply to migrants crossing the border illegally. So far in 2021, the Border Patrol has arrested more than 1.1 million people. Although the detention centers at the border themselves are overcrowded, migrants are handed over to NGOs and transferred within the country.

Recently, several of them were found to have tested positive for Covid-19 and thousands were released without a trial date, regardless of consultation with the authorities about their final destination.

Meanwhile, citing the spread of the Delta virus, US health officials are reimposing mask safeguards for most of the country. Some states, local governments, and businesses have begun making vaccination mandatory for some or all of their employees, while New York City has become the first city in the country to require a vaccination card to enter restaurants and entertainment venues.

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Terry Alexander

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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