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new policies New rules for air passengers travelling to US from next month announced

From November 8, non-immigrant adults travelling to the US will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with limited exceptions

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The new rules come into force on November 8. Photo: Deposit

The new rules come into force on November 8. Photo: Deposit

The new rules come into force on November 8. Photo: Deposit

Two weeks before a new vaccination requirement is introduced for most foreign travellers to the US, authorities there have detailed their new policies, including an exemption for children.

From November 8, non-immigrant adults travelling to the US will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with limited exceptions.

All travellers will need to be tested for the virus before boarding an aircraft to the US, with tightened restrictions for those who are not fully vaccinated.

The new policy comes as the administration of President Joe Biden moves away from broader country-based travel restrictions and bans toward what it terms a “vaccinations-based” system focused on the individual risk of the traveller.

Under the policy, those who are unvaccinated will need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test within a day of travel, while those who are vaccinated will be allowed to present a test taken within three days of travel.

Children under 18 will not be required to be fully vaccinated, given the inconsistency in the global roll-out of shots for their age cohort, but those aged two and over will be subjected to the same Covid-19 testing policy as their parent or guardian.

The Biden administration has been working with airlines, who will be required to enforce the new procedures, to explain the new policies so they can prepare for implementation.

Airlines will be mandated to verify vaccine records and match them against identify information. They will also need to make certain that the shots given are on the Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organisation's approved list. Mixing-and-matching of approved shots will be permitted.

Airlines will also be required to collect contact information for international air travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, to facilitate contact tracing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's quarantine officers will spot-check passengers after arrival in the US for compliance, according to an administration official.

Airlines that fail to enforce the requirements could be subject to penalties of up to nearly $35,000 per violation.

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The administration announced limited exceptions to the vaccination requirement, including children, those who participated in Covid-19 clinical trials, who have medical reasons for not getting vaccinated, or are from a country where shots are not widely available.

Unvaccinated residents of countries with vaccination rates below 10pc of adults may be admitted to the US with a government letter authorising travel for pressing, non-tourism purposes, the administration said.
 

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