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UPDATE: US to lift travel ban for vaccinated Europeans on November 8th

Fully vaccinated travellers from Europe will finally be able to visit the US from November 8th the White House announced on Friday.

UPDATE: US to lift travel ban for vaccinated Europeans on November 8th
Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP
The United States announced on Friday it will lift Covid travel bans on all passengers from November 8th if they are fully vaccinated and undergo testing and contact tracing.

“The new US policy on travel that will require foreign travellers to the US to be fully vaccinated, will enter into force on November 8th,” the White House said in statement.

The easing of travel restrictions, imposed 18 months ago by Donald Trump as the Covid-19 pandemic first erupted, marks a significant shift by Biden and answers a major demand from European allies at a time of strained diplomatic relations.

Effectively the change means vaccinated travellers from Europe will be able to once again visit the US.

US nationals living in Europe and their close family members had been able to travel home across the Atlantic despite the ban but the strict rules had caused misery for many.

The initial announcement that travel restrictions would be eased was made in September and was greeted warmly in Europe.

German vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted: “Great news – for German and European investments, our exports and transatlantic relations” while the Air France chief described it as “great news”.

European countries have long since opened their borders to vaccinated American tourists, but despite diplomatic pressure in recent months the government in Washington had refused to reciprocate the move until now.

At the end of August the EU removed the US from its travel safe list. Following this move several European countries banned unvaccinated travellers from the US.

Member comments

  1. Sad thing is now it’s paradoxically actually easier for Europeans to travel than Americans. They have the luxury of testing BEFORE they leave home. If positive, stay home. We Americans who miss Italy have to risk testing positive while we’re overseas which is a luxury only the most priveleged can afford. Us plebs can’t risk having to add on 10 more days in a quarantine room to our trips. It’s actually easier for Americans to get into Europe than get home. Even while the US is one of the worst countries in the world for Delta many European countries will let us in just showing the CDC card. If someone can explain how this makes any sense I’d love to hear it. It’s extremely frustrating and also detrimental to the vaccine effort in the US. Either the vaccines work or they don’t but the policy of forcing vaccinated to test before returning home makes it look like they don’t. Stupid stupid stupid stupid.

    1. Agreed. Going to France was easy – I just showed that I was fully vaccinated. I came back to the US from Paris last week – from a country that is over 85% vaccinated to my own country that isn’t even 60% yet, but I had to get a negative test in Paris first. Crazy.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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