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US to Ease Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Foreign Travelers


Southwest Airline passenger Robert Civettini wears a face mask as he goes to the boarding gate at Sacramento International Airport in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, May 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
US to Ease Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Foreign Travelers
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The United States has issued new travel policies that will permit vaccinated international travelers from 33 nations to fly into the country.

The new rules, set to take effect in early November, were announced Monday by the administration of President Joe Biden.

Under the rules, all adult foreign air travelers to the U.S. must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they can board a flight. This is in addition to the current requirement that travelers show proof of a negative COVID-19 test carried out within 72 hours of departure to the U.S.

The new policies cover travelers from 26 European nations including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece. The rules will also permit conditional U.S. entry to flyers from Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

The administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump first placed COVID-19-related travel restrictions on air travelers from China in January 2020. These were later extended to many other countries.

The United States has permitted foreign air travelers from more than 150 countries throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Some experts criticized that policy, as it included nations with high COVID-19 rates.

In this Oct. 15, 2020 file photo, a United Airlines agent checks in passengers at the gate to board a flight to Hawaii at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
In this Oct. 15, 2020 file photo, a United Airlines agent checks in passengers at the gate to board a flight to Hawaii at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

The new rules affect almost all foreigners flying to the U.S.

The new policy also affects unvaccinated Americans traveling to the U.S. Now, they must be tested for COVID-19 within a day of travel. They must show proof of the test and its result. And, they have to show proof of purchase of a virus test they are required to take after entering the U.S.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the government will accept full vaccination of travelers with any COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO). This includes the vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Other WHO-approved vaccines will also be accepted. These include AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac. The WHO is reviewing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, but has not yet approved it.

Separately on Monday, the United States extended pandemic restrictions at land borders with Canada and Mexico. Those rules bar nonessential travel through October 21. Officials did not say if the new vaccination rule for air travel would also be established at border crossings on land.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

negative – adj. in a medical test, negative means the person being tested does not have a disease

nonessentialadj. not completely necessary

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