US to reopen borders for fully jabbed in November

US to reopen borders for fully jabbed in November

A healthcare worker takes a swab sample of a traveller at an airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, on Wednesday. Reuters

Washington, October 13

The US will reopen its land borders to non-essential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the Covid pandemic as the country moves to require all international visitors to be vaccinated against the virus.

Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the US and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic.

Safety protocol

  • Travellers entering the US by vehicle, rail and ferry will be asked about their vax status
  • For air travel, a negative Covid test is required before boarding a flight
  • No testing will be required to enter the United States by land or sea, provided the travellers meet vax requirement

The new rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the US regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the country. By mid-January, even essential travellers seeking to enter the US such as truck drivers will need to be fully vaccinated.

Senior administrative officials previewed the new policy on late Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to speak ahead of the formal announcement.

Both Mexico and Canada have pressed the US for months to ease restrictions on travel that have separated families and curtailed leisure trips since the onset of the pandemic. The latest move follows last month’s announcement that the US would end country-based travel bans for air travel, and instead require vaccination for foreign nationals seeking to enter by plane.

Both policies will take effect in early November, the officials said. They did not specify a particular date.

According to the officials, travellers entering the US by vehicle, rail and ferry will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard US Customs and Border Protection admissions process. At officers’ discretion, travellers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process. — AP

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