According to White House executives, the United States is developing a “new system for international travel,” which include contact tracing and vaccine requirements. The system would go into effect when the travel restrictions that ban much of the world’s population from entering the country are finally lifted.
There’s no set time frame for when this new system will be put into place. White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients told the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board that the government has no immediate plans to ease travel restrictions, due to the high number of cases of the Delta variant of COVID both in the U.S. and around the world.
“The American people need to trust that the new system for international travel is safer even as we – I mean at that point – we’ll be letting in more travelers,” Zients said on Wednesday. He added that the existing restrictions would eventually be replaced by the new system, which would be “safer, stronger and sustainable.”
Zients also confirmed they are considering vaccine requirements for foreign nationals to enter the U.S.
“Vaccination rates matter here at home and other countries,” said Zients. He also urged travel companies such as airlines to quickly mandate employee vaccines.
Zients also said that the government intends to collect contact tracing data from passengers who travel to the U.S. This will allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to contact travelers if they’re exposed to COVID (Note from Sharon – save for knowing the COVID status of everyone else was sitting on the plane, is there anywhere in the U.S. where contact tracing has been a success? Serious question. I would LOVE if our country had it. But I’ve researched and can’t find much evidence of a successful contact tracing program in this country.).
Zients also said that the White House wants the program ready to go when it’s safe to lift the current travel restrictions.
The United States currently bars most non-U.S. citizens who have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil in the past 14 days (if they do something like this, there’s nothing to stop them from entering the U.S.). Citizens from Canada and Mexico are also not allowed to visit for non-essential travel.
Feature Photo: Marco Verch / flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary