News Coronavirus US to allow in fully-vaccinated travellers

US to allow in fully-vaccinated travellers

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The US will re-open to air passengers from China, India, Britain and many other European countries who have received COVID-19 vaccines in early November, the White House says, rolling back tough pandemic-related travel restrictions that started early last year.

The White House planned to allow non-citizen travellers from countries that have been barred from the US since early 2020 as it moved to the new requirements, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said.

The US restrictions were imposed on travellers from China in January 2020 by then-president Donald Trump and then extended to other countries in the following months, without any clear metrics for how and when to lift them.

In April this year, President Joe Biden added new travel restrictions on India, barring most non-US citizens from entering the US.

Mr Biden also reversed plans by Mr Trump in January to lift restrictions on European countries.

The US currently bars most non-citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

There will be some exceptions to the vaccine policy, officials said, including for children not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

The rules do not yet apply to travellers crossing land borders with Mexico and Canada.

Airlines have heavily lobbied the White House for months to lift the restrictions but were unsuccessful at having them lifted in time for the northern hemisphere summer travel season.

The White House said in July it had concerns about the highly infectious coronavirus Delta variant and a rising number of US COVID-19 cases.

The seven-day average of reported US COVID-19 cases has more than doubled since then.