The US Considers New System to Open International Travel

The US Considers New System to Open International Travel

The easing of the US travel ban to most of Europe has been highly anticipated. 

It has been revealed that the United States is developing a “new system for international travel” that will include requiring COVID vaccination and contact tracing for when the country eventually lifts travel restrictions.

According to the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, the US does not plan to immediately relax any travel restrictions citing COVID-19 Delta variant cases

The White House previously confirmed it was considering mandating vaccines for foreign international visitors.

The American people need to trust that the new system for international travel is safer even as we – I mean at that point – we'll be letting in more travellers.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients

Zients added it will eventually replace existing restrictions.

Some industry officials fear the Biden administration may not lift travel restrictions for months or potentially until 2022.

The administration wanted to lift travel restrictions “as soon as we can,” Zients said.

US Contact Tracing for International Travellers

It has been reported that the new system will include collecting contact tracing data from passengers travelling into the United States to enable the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to contact travellers if exposed to COVID-19.

Zients said they want the new system to be “ready to press go on” when it is safe to lift restrictions. “We get the importance of this,” Zients said.

The United States currently bars most non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

The United States separately bars non-essential travel by most non-US citizens at US land borders with Mexico and Canada.

Critics say restrictions no longer make sense because some countries with high rates of COVID-19 infections are not on the restricted list while some countries on the list have the pandemic under control.

Airlines and other travel companies have pushed the current administration to ease the restrictions, particularly on UK visitors.

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