US issues new guidelines for air travel, lifts existing restrictions on India and other countries

The White House has confirmed that children under the age of 18 years are excused from the new vaccine requirements

Representational Image. Reuters

United States President Joe Biden recently signed an important order imposing new vaccine related requirements for foreign national air travellers. He also lifted travel restrictions in place for countries including China, India, and parts of Europe that will be effective from 8 November.

As per the new order, only foreign nationals with vaccinations approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be allowed to board planes to the US. However, this new order has made the entry of unvaccinated non-immigrants difficult.

“It is in the interests of the United States to move away from the country-by-country restrictions previously applied during the COVID-19 pandemic and to adopt an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the United States,” Biden said in his proclamation on Monday, 25 October.

To curb the spread of COVID-19 , extraordinary US travel restrictions were first imposed in early 2020. During that time, the rules barred most non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain as well as the 26 Schengen countries in Europe.

On 20 September, the White House had first revealed that they would remove restrictions for fully vaccinated air travelers from 33 countries in early November.

Meanwhile, the White House has confirmed that children under the age of 18 years are excused from the new vaccine rules or requirements. Furthermore, non-tourist travellers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10 percent will also be eligible for the new rule. Additionally, the ones receiving an exemption from the rule will need to be vaccinated within 60 days after arriving in the US.

The countries in this list include Iraq, Nicaragua, Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Haiti, Chad, Libya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Armenia, Myanmar, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, and Madagascar.

Along with the new rules, the US administration has also issued detailed measures that airlines need to follow so that they can confirm foreign travellers who have been vaccinated before boarding US-bound flights. Currently, one concern among US airlines and officials is to make sure that foreign travellers are aware of the new vaccine rules that will come into effect soon.

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