After announcing that restrictions will soon be lifted on vaccinated travelers against Covid-19 arriving by air, the United States will open, from “early November” its land borders with Mexico and Canada, to vaccinated travelers as well, as a senior White House official announced Tuesday night Wednesday.
The official said during a conference call that the US administration will announce “very soon the exact date” to open its land borders, as well as to non-essential international flights for vaccinated travelers.
On September 20, the United States announced that, starting from “the beginning of November,” it would open its air borders to all travelers vaccinated against Covid-19, lifting the restrictions imposed since March 2020 on international flights, which had angered a number of its partners, Especially the Europeans.
The official confirmed that the land and air borders will be opened “simultaneously”.
Over the course of 18 months, the “travel ban” has separated hundreds of thousands of people and caused countless painful personal and family situations.
With regard to opening the land borders, the official said that the matter will take place in two stages: the first, in which vaccination will be a condition for non-essential trips, while necessary trips will continue to be allowed according to the conditions in force since the borders were closed, and the second will start “in early January 2022, in which the vaccine will become a condition.” A must for any trip to the US whether necessary or not.
This will leave “more time”, for example, for drivers of heavy trucks who have valid professional reasons to cross the border, to receive the vaccine, according to the White House.
The source announced that the current restrictions on these land borders, which expire on October 21, will be extended again, until the entry into force of the new measures.
– Which vaccines? –
When asked about the vaccines that will be allowed to enter the United States, the senior official referred to what was recently issued by the American health authorities.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, the most prominent federal public health agency in the United States, told airlines that “all vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (USA) and the World Health Organization will be acceptable for air travel.”
He added, “I expect the same will be the case for travel by land,” explaining that in this case, the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not given in the United States, will be accepted.
The source clarified that this lifting of restrictions applies only to legal entry into US territory.
He said the controversial law, “Chapter 42,” which allowed the Trump administration and then the Biden administration to deport people in illegal situations on health grounds since the pandemic began, will continue to be in place.
This text, which was criticized by associations that considered it restricting the right of asylum in particular, was used by the White House in order to be able to expel large numbers of Haitians who gathered recently on the border with Mexico.
With regard to air transportation, the senior official said that the Biden administration still has to finalize the procedure, especially with regard to tracking people who enter the territory of the United States and the tests that travelers will undergo.
© 2021 AFP