Upon reports of a “new variant of concern”, authorities in the UK and Europe immediately launched a raft of new travel restrictions against Southern Africa.
oOnce one country does something to “act” many often follow, even if only for the political reasons of not being seen to “do nothing”, while others show strength.
Shortly after the European Union announced restrictions, the US joined the travel bans, announcing fresh restrictions on travel from South Africa. The move has been questioned by health authorities including Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA.
The unexpected moves came just weeks after rolling back previous blanketed travel restrictions impacting entire regions, in favor of a science based approach with pre-flight testing and vaccination requirements for all visitors.
The chaos shook not only markets, but the travel industry, with fears that this would signal a return of blanket US travel restrictions against Europe and other regions of the globe, but the latest press conference from President Joe Biden suggests otherwise.
US Doesn’t Plan To Add Travel Restrictions
“I don’t anticipate that at this point” were the words from the US President, when asked if any further restrictions on travel would be put in place. The President then continued to reassure Americans to keep their travel plans.
The President did caveat that the degree of spread could impact future decisions, but additional restrictions do not appear to be a current focus.
Biden continued to state that the US strategy for fighting covid-19 through the winter would “not be with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more”. For those hoping to travel, this narrative is reassuring.
Travel To The United States Now
The US rolled back travel restrictions for most on the world on November 8th, in favor of a vaccination requirement in conjunction with pre-flight testing.
All visitors wishing to enter the United States must have a valid ESTA, just as before, and must also sign a passenger attestation form during the check in process, which confirms proof of vaccination and pre-flight covid-19 tests are authentic and valid.
A detailed outline of which tests and vaccines are accepted can be found here. On news that no future restrictions are expected, South Africa reiterated calls to repeal the bans, amid positive early data.
More than 2.4 million people traveled through TSA security checkpoints in the USA on Sunday November 28th, a new pandemic era record.