Biden Administration Plans to Require Foreign Travelers

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is developing plans to make it mandatory for all foreign travelers to the United States to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, with limited exceptions, according to an administration official with knowledge of emerging policy.

previously reported plan Reuterswill be part of a new system that will be implemented after existing restrictions on travel to the country are lifted, but authorities have yet to determine when this could be done.

President Biden has been under pressure for months to ease restrictions on people wishing to travel to the United States, especially as other countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, relax their measures.

But White House officials recently said there are no plans to lift existing restrictions anytime soon in light of the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

“Given where we are today with the Delta variant, we will maintain the current travel restrictions at this point,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week.

White House officials reiterated that stance Wednesday evening, saying there is no timetable yet to mandate the vaccination of foreign travelers.

An official, who is not authorized to make the details of the plan public, said in the email that the new system will involve a phased approach over time.

Travelers from Iran, China, Brazil, England, South Africa, India, Ireland and the Schengen area of ​​Europe, covering 29 countries, city-states and micro-states, currently prohibited from entering the United States unless you are a U.S. citizen or stay 14 days prior to arrival in a country not in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banned list.

Airlines and other businesses have long called for the administration to lift or ease restrictions on foreign travelers to the United States, especially after much of Europe began opening up to American visitors in June.

“We’ve seen really strong booking interest in international markets for US passengers, particularly in southern Europe,” said Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines CEO, in a statement last month. According to The Financial Times. “The problem is that these markets are only one-way. The White House is not particularly keen on opening the US market to European or British travelers, which is a source of frustration.”

Travel within the United States fell just 14 percent last week, compared to 2019, while international travel was down nearly 40 percent last week, according to Airlines for America, a trade association.

The United States began restricting travel for foreigners in January 2020, when President Donald J. Trump cut some travel from China in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus. This effort was largely unsuccessful.

But health officials pressured the Trump administration to extend travel bans to most of Europe during the first surge of the pandemic in spring 2020, with more countries being added to the ban as the original virus and various variants spread rapidly from country to country. country.

This week, the Biden administration said Title 42, a public health rule that allows the government to turn people away from trying to enter the United States through its southern border, will remain in effect.

Decision approved by the CDC on Mondaymeant a shift by the management who owned it. was working on plans to start removing the rule this summerMore than a year after it was imposed by the Trump administration.

Known total of global coronavirus infections over 200 million on WednesdayAccording to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, a series has strengthened with the advent of the Delta variant.

Niraj Chokshi contributing reporting.

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