UPDATED: US to require vaccination as part of plan to allow visitors to return
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional details from the Associated Press.
The Associated Press has confirmed Reuters news service reporting late Wednesday, Aug. 4, reporting the United States is planning to require vaccination as part of a plan to once again allow entrance to visitors.
Reuters, quoting a government official, said all foreign visitors would need to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to enter the U.S.
The plans are still being worked out and the current ban on visitors from most countries is not expected to be lifted anytime soon.
The source told Reuters the White House was still resisting changing the visitor rules since the highly transmissible delta COVID-19 variant is still spreading with rising caseloads worldwide.
On Thursday, Aug. 5, Associated Press – also using an unnamed White House official – wrote, “Eventually all foreign citizens entering the country, with some limited exceptions, are expected to need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the U.S.”
As we reported last month, President Biden told the press in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel July 15 that an announcement on easing the restrictions could come “within the next several days,” but that hasn’t happened so far.
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Reuters also reporting: The Biden administration has interagency working groups working “in order to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel.” The official added, it includes “a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated.”
Reuters had previously reported the Biden administration had been considering a vaccination requirement. The wire service company says the administration has also held talks with some airlines about a contact-tracing system for visitors.
Last week, Reuters reported the White House was discussing the potential of mandating COVID-19 vaccines for international visitors. The sources said no decisions have been made.
The Biden Administration has resisted pressure for months to reopen borders to Europeans.
Anger has been intensifying in Europe over the continued ban on Europeans coming to the United States, even as Europe began allowing American tourists to come in June.
The original ban enacted by the Trump administration in March 2020 ordered most foreigners who have visited a list of restricted countries in the past 14 days not be allowed to enter the United States.
The Trump Administration banned entry to the United States for non-nationals who have been in the U.K., Ireland, 26 Schengen Area countries, China, Iran and/or Brazil in the last 14 days. There were reports in November 2020 that the White House was considering lifting that ban on travel from Europe. However, that was extended under President Biden.
The U.S. Travel Association sent TPG a statement saying they welcomed the news calling it, “.. an important first step to welcoming back millions of visitors from some of our top inbound markets.”
Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said:
“Every week that travel bans on the UK, EU, and Canada remain in place, our economy loses $1.5 billion in spending, which would support 10,000 American jobs. We urge the administration to advance this plan for 212(f) countries and set a reopening date as quickly as possible, especially as the U.K., much of the E.U., and Canada have all taken recent similar steps to reopen their borders to vaccinated travelers and rebuild their economies.”
Section 212(f) is the presidential proclamation that banned entry for international visitors to the U.S.
The AP also reported the trade group Airlines for America said it was pleased to see the U.S. potentially opening up to more foreign visitors.
Featured image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.
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