U.S. plans to reopen international travel restrictions

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U.S. plans to reopen international travel restrictions

Department of Homeland Security interviews a person at the Canada Border crossing at the Thousand Islands Bridge, which remains closed to non-essential traffic in Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada on 29 September 2020. Lars Hagberg has edited ReUTERS Lars Hagberg.

The White House is forming expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to determine how best to resume travel safely after 15 months of Pandemic restrictions, a White House official said on Tuesday.

Another U.S. official said the administration will not quickly move to lift the orders that bar people from much of the world from entering the United States because of the time it will take for the groups to do their work. The White House informs airlines and others in the travel industry about the groups, says the official.

While we are not reopening travel today, we hope that these professionals will help us use our collective expertise to map a path forward, with a goal of reopening international travel with our key partners when it is determined that it is safe to do so, the White House official said, adding all decisions will be fully guided by the objective analysis and recommendations of public health and medical experts.

The groups will be led by the White House COVID Response Team and the National Security Council and comprise the Centers for Disease Control and other USA agencies.

The CDC said on Tuesday that it was easing travel recommendations on 110 countries and territories, including Iran, Mexico, Japan, South Africa and Canada, but has declined to lift any COVID 19 travel restrictions.

Rochelle Walensky said the US government's travel restrictions in place since 2020 are subject to an interagency conversation and we are looking at the data in real time as to how we can move forward with that.

The U.S. administration has faced pressure from some lawmakers who said that Canadian communities along the Canadian border have faced economic hardship due to land border restrictions.

Airlines and others have pressed the administration to lift the restrictions that prevent most non-U.S. citizens who have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen nations in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil from traveling to the United States. The United States also prevents most non-essential travel at its land borders with Mexico and Canada.

Southwest AirlinesAirlines for America, a trade group representing American Airlines Delta Air Lines and others, praised the working groups but the group believes these working groups should act quickly to endorse a policy backed by science which allows travelers who are fully vaccinated to travel to the United States. Quickly is the key we believe is there science

United Airlines said it was encouraged that the white house was pressing over a plan to return air travel to international markets and asked urgency, given the typically busy impending summer travel season. Now is the time to implement a reopening strategy for the benefit of both the economy and the traveling public.

On Monday, the heads of all passenger airlines that fly between Britain and the USA called on both countries to lift travel limit restrictions.

Boris Johnson will meet with the U.S. President Joe Biden and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the G-7 meeting of advanced economies in Cornwall, England this week.

International airline officials said that they do not expect Washington to lift limits until around 4 July if the administration aims to get more Americans vaccinated. The U.S. Travel Association welcomed the Working Groups, saying a joint-private task force can quickly develop a blueprint to reopen international inbound travel and support a sustained job and economic recovery.

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