The US government has announced it will allow fully-vaccinated air travellers to enter the country with a negative COVID-19 test result prior to hopping on a plane from early November.
The move, which was announced this morning, supersedes the so-called ‘212f’ restrictions which prevented anyone from entering the US via air travel if they had been in 33 specific countries within the last 14 days.
These included the UK, Ireland, all Schengen countries, Brazil, South Africa, India, and China.
The US Travel Association applauded the Biden administration’s announcement, saying the reopening roadmap will help revive the American economy and protect public health.
“This is a major turning point in the management of the virus and will accelerate the recovery of the millions of travel-related jobs that have been lost due to international travel restrictions,” the industry body said in a statement.
“The US Travel Association expresses its deep appreciation to the President and his advisors – in particular, Commerce Secretary Raimondo, who has been a tireless advocate – for working with the industry to develop a plan to restart international travel and safely reconnect America with the world.”
Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association, also praised the US government’s announcement as “a major step forward”.
“Allowing access to the US for those vaccinated will open travel to the US for many who have been locked out for the past 18 months,” he said.
“This is excellent news for families and loved ones who have suffered through the heartache and loneliness of separation.
“It’s good for the millions of livelihoods in the US that depend on global tourism. And it will boost the economic recovery by enabling some key business travel markets.”
Walsh said the announcement marks a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk.
“The next challenge is finding a system to manage the risks for travellers who do not have access to vaccinations,” he said.
“Data points to testing as a solution, but it is also critical that governments accelerate the global rollout of vaccines and agree [on] a global framework for travel where testing resources are focused on unvaccinated travellers.
“We must get back to a situation where the freedom to travel is available to all.”
In a separate announcement, the US extended its ban on non-essential land travel at the Canada and Mexico borders through 21 October.
Featured image source: iStock/wanderluster