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After 20 months of restrictions, the US opens the border to vaccinated

USA Today reopens land and air borders to travelers vaccinated against the COVID-19, ending 20 months of harsh restrictions criticized by Europe or by the neighbors Mexico and Canada.

Separated families, disrupted business relationships, frustrated career ambitions: the “travel ban” imposed by then-President Donald Trump in early 2020, later confirmed by his successor Joe Biden, has become emblematic of the upheavals caused by the pandemic .

To protect himself from the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, Trump quickly imposed travel restrictions from China in February 2020. Then, on March 13, it was the turn of the Schengen countries in Europe.
Britain and Ireland followed a few days later, while land borders were already largely closed with Mexico and Canada.

As of today, as reported by the White House, foreigners who want to enter the United States for visits considered non-essential, such as tourism or most family gatherings, will be able to do so both by air and through the land borders of Mexico and Canada.

International travelers who are vaccinated and flying from countries hitherto subject to travel restrictions due to the pandemic, a list that included the 26 European states of the Schengen area, in addition to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, China, Iran, may also do so. South Africa and India.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS, in English) warned that it anticipates that “due to the greater volume of travelers, waiting times at customs will be prolonged” so it recommends having the documents at hand and showing “patience”, according to it said in a statement released last week.

Airlines are preparing to receive vaccinated travelers from 33 countries, authorized to return to the US.

Air France, British Airways, United Airlines, to meet the challenge, companies that rely heavily on transpacific and transatlantic routes added flights, chose larger planes and secured staff.

The opening of borders occurs shortly after the United States reached 70% of its adult population fully vaccinated and is already administering the booster dose to those over 65 years of age. Inoculation of boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 11 also began.

The EU will accept all vaccines that have been authorized by WHO, including that from AstraZeneca.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a person to be “fully vaccinated” if it has been 14 days since they received an accepted single-dose antidote or since they received the second of a two-shot vaccine.

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