United States President Joe Biden's administration announced new COVID-19 travel bans that would implement vaccine mandates for foreign visitors and lay down stricter rules for unvaccinated Americans.
The situation comes as the Democratic president will lift long-running coronavirus travel bans against residents who are coming from most European countries on Nov. 8. The U.S. government will implement a new vaccination-and-testing rule while making it harder for unvaccinated U.S. residents to travel.
Tighter Travel Restrictions
The new policies will require most travelers who want to get into the United States to get tested for the coronavirus within three days if they have any of the World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccines. Tighter restrictions also come to unvaccinated Americans and permanent residents where they are mandated to get tested within one day of travel.
Many United States allies have been outraged by the slow repeal of the nearly 20-month-old Europe travel ban. They have argued that it was unscientific because the majority of residents of the Schengen Zone, the UK, and Ireland, were already vaccinated. This is compared to other countries that were not banned from travel to the U.S. despite having much lower vaccination rates, the New York Post reported.
The White House announced tighter restrictions on unvaccinated Americans, adding that it is required if an individual is not able to provide proof of full vaccination against the coronavirus. Even those who are fully vaccinated must show their proof of inoculation or face similar restrictions as unvaccinated residents.
During a Monday briefing, senior administration officials said the strict safety protocols followed the science of public health to make it safer for Americans at home and keep international air travel safer. There are only a few exceptions to the requirement as only foreign nationals who have gotten vaccinated with any of the WHO-approved treatments are allowed to board planes to the U.S.
Some of the exceptions include children under the age of 18 years and travelers from countries that have less than 10% vaccination rates due to a lack of supply. The latter currently extends to around 50 countries, the White House said, arguing the list is continually changing, USA Today reported.
Exceptions to the Policies
The new requirements showcase the Biden administration's embrace of vaccination requirements as a means to punish Americans who oppose getting the treatment. Authorities are making it harder for unvaccinated people to travel unless they choose to get inoculated against the coronavirus infection.
Children aged under 18 years will not be required to be fully vaccinated before being allowed to travel due to the difficulties of approval for their age range. However, they will still be required to show proof of negative tests for the coronavirus unless they are two years old or younger.
Other exceptions to the restrictions include individuals who have volunteered to be a part of COVID-19 clinical trials and those who had severe allergic reactions to the vaccines. People from countries that have less than a 10% vaccination rate of adults may be admitted to the U.S. with a government letter authorizing their travel as long as it is not just for tourism, Yahoo News reported.