US lift travel restrictions for pandemics and ease tensions with Europe

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WASHINGTON – Biden’s government will lift travel restrictions on foreigners fully vaccinated against the coronavirus beginning November, reopen the country to thousands of people, including those who were separated from their families in the United States during the pandemic, and a major nuisance facilitate voltage source with Europe.

Ending 18-month travel bans from 33 countries including members of the European Union, China, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and India could help rejuvenate a U.S. tourism industry paralyzed by the pandemic. According to the US Travel Association, a trade group promoting travel to and within the United States, the industry suffered a loss of $ 500 billion in travel expenses in 2020.

More about the COVID-19 pandemic

In New York City alone, the tourist shortage destroyed 89,000 jobs and resulted in more than $ 60 billion in lost sales, the state auditor found.

“Everyone says New York is back, New York is back, but it’s not really back until tourists from all over the world are back,” said Leyla Saleh, 28, a pastry chef whose father was last forced to open his gift shop in Midtown Manhattan to close year because he didn’t have enough stores.

Foreign travelers are required to provide proof of vaccination before boarding and a negative coronavirus test within three days of entering the U.S., Jeffrey Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator, said Monday. Unvaccinated Americans planning to travel home from overseas must meet stricter testing requirements. They must test negative for the coronavirus a day before traveling to the United States and show proof that they purchased a test to take after they arrive in the United States, Zients said.

The decision comes in a pivotal week for President Joe Biden, who will address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and is under pressure from allies over travel restrictions, the government’s haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan and a diplomatic feud with France are frustrated.

France reacted with anger last week after being excluded from a lucrative deal to develop nuclear submarines for Australia. Paris called back its ambassadors in the US and Australia, describing the deal as a slap in the back.

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken discussed the deal with French Ambassador Philippe Tienne along with the travel ban on Friday, according to a senior Foreign Ministry official who said other allies had also raised concerns about the restrictions. These discussions helped in the decision to lift the travel ban, the official said, asking for anonymity to describe sensitive conversations.

“International travel is essential to bring families and friends together, to stimulate small and large businesses, and to encourage the open exchange of ideas and culture,” said Zients. “For this reason, using science and public health as a guideline, we have developed a new international air travel system that will increase both the safety of Americans here at home and the safety of international air travel.”

The changes announced on Monday will only apply to air travel and will not affect restrictions along the land border, Zients said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assume people are fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Those who have received emergency-approved vaccines such as the AstraZeneca vaccine from the World Health Organization would also be considered fully vaccinated, according to a statement from Thomas Skinner, a CDC spokesman.

The CDC will also issue an order directing airlines to collect phone numbers and email addresses from travelers for a new contact tracing system. Authorities will then contact travelers upon arrival to ask if they have symptoms of the virus.

Although the new rules open travel for some, they close it for others.

Unvaccinated people will soon be largely banned from visiting the United States, even if they come from countries like Japan, which were not subject to travel restrictions to America during the pandemic. According to Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association, a trading group of the world’s airlines, the restrictions will create significant complications for people planning to travel to the US from countries that are more difficult to get vaccinated.

Walsh said it was “critical that governments accelerate the adoption of vaccines around the world” and agree on “a global framework for travel with testing resources focused on unvaccinated travelers”.

“We need to return to a situation where freedom of travel is available to all,” he added.

The Trump administration began enforcing bans on foreign travelers in January 2020 in hopes of preventing the virus from spreading. The effort remained largely unsuccessful, in part because U.S. residents struggling to return home encountered porous screenings at U.S. airports upon arrival.

Biden maintained restrictions on travelers from the European Union, the UK, India and other places, despite requests from business leaders in need of tourism profits, foreign workers traveling overseas to get their visas to work in the United States to lengthen, only to be stranded. and citizens separated from their partners abroad.

The White House insisted the restrictions were necessary, especially after the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant this summer fueled a surge in coronavirus cases and undermined the central theme of Biden’s presidency – vaccinating Americans and controlling the pandemic would have.

No city in the United States felt the effects of the travel ban like New York, which had the highest proportion of outbound travel and attracted more than 13.5 million overseas visitors in 2019, according to data from the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, which operates the area’s airports .

Zients cited the pace of vaccinations being administered around the world as the reason for the government’s pivot Monday. The move also came on the eve of a visit from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was expected to urge Biden to lift the ban. British officials had hoped the president would announce a relaxation of restrictions when he traveled to England for the Group 7 summit in June and were disappointed when he did not.

Your frustration has only deepened.

British officials noted that the United States had not imposed a similar ban on people from Caribbean countries, which had higher rates of infection than the UK, or from Argentina, where a lower percentage of the population had been vaccinated. About 82% of people in the UK over the age of 16 have received two syringes.

The UK and several EU countries allow fully vaccinated people from the United States to travel without quarantine, and officials there were upset when the United States did not reciprocate. The EU has now turned around and recommended that its members impose more restrictions on American travelers.

“It’s a fantastic boost for business and commerce and it’s great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited,” Johnson said in a tweet.

)The ban, European officials stress, has kept families separate since early 2020 when the coronavirus broke out across Europe. European countries have survived a third wave of infections driven by the Delta variant. But infection rates have flattened and even decreased in several countries, including the UK.

British newspapers played up the fact that the parents of Emma Raducanu, the British woman who won the US Open tennis tournament, couldn’t travel to New York to watch her play.

Europe is the largest market for passenger flows to and from the UK according to the International Air Transport Association, but North America is the second largest market with 10.1 million passengers.

Constantin Film, one of the largest German production and distribution groups, has its headquarters in Munich and an office in Los Angeles, according to CEO Martin Moszkowicz.

During the 18 months of the travel ban, the company’s investments in the US economy were “essentially zero,” said Moszkowicz. The company had to move production of two feature films and a show to Canada and South Africa, he said.

For many, the travel ban meant losing time with family.

“I try not to cry because it’s such a beautiful day,” said Giovanni Vincenti, 42, an Italian professor who lives in Baltimore. Vincenti’s daughter, who was born last May, never met her grandparents because of travel restrictions.

Cristina Garbarino, 55, a babysitter in Genoa, Italy, said the travel ban put her visa and marriage plan on hold, separating her from her fiancé, who lives in New Hampshire, for almost two years.

“At my age, I don’t have much time to lose,” she said, “and I’ve lost two years this way.”

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