COVID-19: US Issues New Guidelines For Air Travel

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Washington: The United States has announced new COVID-19 international air travel rules starting from November 8.

Starting on November 8, only foreign nationals with vaccinations approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization will be allowed to board planes to the US.

“For anyone travelling to the United States who cannot demonstrate proof of full vaccination, they will have to produce documentation of a negative test within one day of departure,” instead of the current three days, according to the White House.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that for the purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include those US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved or authorized, as well as vaccines with an emergency use listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization (WHO) that includes Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

As per the guidelines mixing and matching of approved shots will be permitted.

Fully vaccinated air travellers will continue to be required to show documentation of a pre-departure negative viral test from a sample taken within three days of travel to the United States before boarding. That includes all travellers – US citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and foreign nationals.

To further strengthen protections, unvaccinated travellers – whether US citizens, LPRs, or the small number of excepted unvaccinated foreign nationals – will now need to show documentation of a negative viral test from a sample taken within one day of travel to the United States, read the release.

The travel advisory by the US Department of State also said that both US citizens and foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated should travel with proof of their vaccination status to provide to their airline prior to departure to the United States.

However, children under 18 are exempted from the vaccination requirement for foreign national travellers, given both the ineligibility of some younger children for vaccination, as well as the global variability in access to vaccination for older children who are eligible to be vaccinated, said the advisory.

Regarding testing requirements for children, the advisory added that children between the ages of 2 and 17 are required to take a pre-departure test.

If a child is not fully vaccinated and traveling with a fully vaccinated adult, they can show proof of a negative viral test from a sample taken within three days before departure (consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults).

The extraordinary US travel restrictions were first imposed in early 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19. The rules bar most non-U.S. 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.

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