The United States will reopen its borders to foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 starting on November 8, a White House official has announced, ending an eighteen-month ban on most travel to the country. The new travel policy of US requires people to be fully vaccinated to enter the country via international flights and land border crossings, White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said on Twitter, adding that the policy “is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent”.
Vaccines that have been approved by the USFDA and the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted as sufficient, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children below 18 will be largely exempted from the vaccine requirement. Unprecedented US travel restrictions that were put in place in March 2020 near the start of the pandemic have kept out millions of visitors from around the world.
The curbs affected the US tourism industry as well as Canadian and Mexican border communities and prevented many families and foreign workers from reuniting. The US has lagged behind many other countries in lifting such restrictions. The new policy was quickly hailed by European Union Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis, who called it “important and very welcome news” and said in a post on Twitter that more details were expected to follow.