The administration of US President Joe Biden intends to require foreign travelers to be vaccinated. The plan is part of a new system that will go into effect after the current restrictions on entry into the country are lifted, but officials have yet to determine when this can be done.
The plan will be part of a new system that will go into effect after the current restrictions on entry to the country are lifted, but officials have yet to determine when this can be done.
President Biden has been pressured for months to ease restrictions on people wishing to visit the United States, especially as other countries, including the UK and Canada, are loosing their measures.
But White House officials have said in recent days that there is no plan to lift current restrictions anytime soon in light of the spread of the highly contagious delta strain.
“Given where we are today with the Delta strain, we will maintain the existing travel restrictions at this stage,” said Jen Psaki, White House spokesman.
White House officials reaffirmed this stance, saying there is no timetable yet for requiring foreign travelers to be vaccinated.
Travelers from Iran, China, Brazil, United Kingdom, South Africa, India, Ireland and Europe’s 29-country, city-state, and micro-state Schengen Area are currently barred from entering the United States unless they are U.S. citizens or have been in within 14 days in a country that is not on the list of banned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Airlines and other businesses have long called on the administration to lift or relax restrictions on foreign travelers to the United States, especially after much of Europe began opening up to American visitors in June.
While travel within the United States has declined by only 14% over the past week compared to 2019, international travel remains at 40%, according to trade association Airlines for America.
The United States began restricting travel to foreigners in January 2020, when President Donald Trump cut off some travel from China in hopes of preventing the spread of the virus.
But health officials pushed for the Trump administration to extend travel bans across much of Europe during the first outbreak of the pandemic in spring 2020, and more countries were added to the ban as the original virus and several strains of it quickly spread from country to country.
The Biden administration said this week that it will maintain a public health rule that allows the government to return people who try to enter the United States across the southern border.
According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, the known total number of global coronavirus infections exceeded 200 million on Wednesday due to the emergence of a delta strain.