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White House to demand all travelers be fully-vaccinated before entering US in border re-opening

White House to demand all travelers be fully-vaccinated before entering US in border re-opening
The White House is working on plans for how to re-open the US border (Picture: Splash News/Getty)

Holidaymakers will need to be fully-vaccinated against Covid in order travel to the US, according to a White House official.

The Biden administration is set to impose the vaccine mandate on almost all foreign visitors to America as part of a larger plan to re-open the country’s border.

The move to demand vaccination would be part of the US eventually lifting travel restrictions that bar much of the world, including the UK and Europe, from entering America.

Foreign travelers from dozens of countries have been banned from entering the US since the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, and Joe Biden’s team is yet to make any suggestion for when the border restrictions may be lifted.

Passengers arrive on a flight from London amid new restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at JFK International Airport in New York City, U.S., December 21, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Passengers arrive on a flight at JFK International Airport in New York City from London amid the coronavirus pandemic (Picture: Reuters)
(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 22, 2020 US Customs officers speaks with people in a car beside a sign saying that the US border is closed at the US/Canada border in Lansdowne, Ontario. - Canada's border with the United States will remain closed to all non-essential travelers until March 21, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced February 19, 2021. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo by LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images)
The US imposed strict border restrictions in March 2002 (Picture: AFP via Getty)

According to the White House official, speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, the White House is not ready to lift travel restrictions just yet because of the rising number of Covid cases in the US, the official said.

The Delta variant of the virus is surging through the states, leading to a sharp increase in new cases and hospitalizations.

But in the first sign of possible movement with the strict border rules, the Biden administration is said to have set up an inter-agency working group that’s tasked with ensuring the US has ‘a new system ready for when we can reopen travel’, the official said.

The source added that the plan includes ‘a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated.’ 

The White House has been repeatedly asked when travel restrictions might be lifted. 

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked why unvaccinated people from other parts of the world are allowed to travel into the US, but vaccinated individuals from Europe and other banned countries are not.

‘I would certainly point you to our health and medical teams who make these decisions and evaluate what we need to do, from a public health perspective, to keep the American people safe at a time where the Delta variant is rising, and one where we are very cognizant about keeping the American people safe’, Psaki replied. 

Currently, non US-citizens aren’t allowed into the country from China, Iran, most of Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South African and India. 

Holidaymakers catching flights to Palma and Tenerife at the Jet2 check-in desk at Glasgow Airport in Paisley. New rules for travellers have come into force as Covid restrictions ease today as Scotland moves to Level Zero. Picture date: Monday July 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SCOTLAND Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
UK travels are currently banned from entering the US (Picture: PA)

Some of the border bans – such as the ones imposed on the EU, UK and China – have not been updated since they were put in place back in March 2020 when the pandemic first took hold. 

Biden has been facing mounting pressure to lift the ban – including from travel industry groups who fear the tourism industry may never recover from the 18-month shutdown.

On Monday the UK announced that fully vaccinated travelers from the US and EU would be allowed back into the country without the need to quarantine for 10 days. 

The EU, meanwhile, reopened its borders to American tourists in June.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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