US lifts Covid curbs on fully-vaccinated travellers

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The US will lift all restrictions for fully vaccinated international travellers, including from India, from November 8 but they will have to show proof of a negative corona virus test before boarding a flight to the country, the White House has announced.

Washington: The US will lift all restrictions for fully vaccinated international travellers, including from India, from November 8 but they will have to show proof of a negative corona virus test before boarding a flight to the country, the White House has announced.

The updated travel guidelines issued on Monday also include new protocols around testing. To further strengthen protections, unvaccinated travellers - whether US Citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or the small number of accepted unvaccinated foreign nationals - will now need to test within one day of departure. "Under this new international air travel system, foreign nationals will need to be fully vaccinated, in order to fly to the United States. The new system also includes enhanced testing requirements, strengthened contact tracing, as well as masking. These are strict safety protocols that follow the science and public health to enhance the safety of Americans here at home, and the safety of international air travel," a senior administration official told reporters. Beginning November 8, non-citizen, non-immigrant air travellers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the US, with only limited exceptions, the official said.

With this, the United States will lift all travel restrictions specific to all countries and regions. According to the White House, passengers will need to show their vaccination status, and the airlines will need to match the name and date of birth to confirm that the passenger is the same person reflected on the proof of vaccination; determine that the record was issued by an official source in the country where the vaccine was given.

For those Americans who can show they are fully vaccinated, the same requirement currently in place will apply - they have to produce a negative test result within three days of travel, the White House said, adding that 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.

Children under 18 are excepted 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. Children between the ages of 2 and 17 are required to take a pre-departure test. If travelling with a fully vaccinated adult, an unvaccinated child can test three days prior to departure (consistent with the timeline for fully vaccinated adults). If an unvaccinated child is travelling alone or with unvaccinated adults, they will have to test within one day of departure, the White House said in a fact sheet.

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