The United States will reopen in November to air travelers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the White House said on Monday, easing tough pandemic-related restrictions that started early last year.
The decision, announced by White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients, marked an abrupt shift for President Joe Biden’s administration, which said last week it was not the right time to lift any restrictions amid rising COVID-19 cases, Reuters reported.
The United States had lagged many other countries in lifting such restrictions, and allies welcomed the move. The U.S. restrictions have barred travelers from most of the world including tens of thousands of foreign nationals with relatives or business links in the United States.
Restrictions on non-U.S. citizens were first imposed on air travelers from China in January 2020 by then-President Donald Trump and then extended to dozens of other countries, without any clear metrics for how and when to lift them.
The United States will admit fully vaccinated air travelers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. The unprecedented U.S. restrictionshave barred non-U.S. citizens who were in those countries within the past 14 days.
Zients did not give a precise start date for the new rules beyond saying “early November,”.
Separately on Monday, the United States extended its pandemic-related restrictions at land borders with Canada and Mexico that bar nonessential travel such as tourism through Oct. 21. It gave no indication if it would apply the new vaccine rules to those land border crossings.
Plataforma Informativa de Aviación Comercial líder en América Latina.