IATA welcomes US decision to lift Covid-19 travel restrictions
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed the Biden administration's decision to enable vaccinated travellers entering the United States with a negative Covid-19 test result prior to travel from early November.
Importantly, said IATA, this supersedes the so-called 212f restrictions which prevented anyone from entering the United States if they had been in 33 specific countries -including the United Kingdom, Ireland, all Schengen countries, Brazil, South Africa, India and China - within the last 14 days.
IATA's Director General Willie Walsh said the announcement is a major step forward.
"Allowing access to the United States for those vaccinated will open travel for many who have been locked out for the past 18 months. This is excellent news for families and loved ones who have suffered through the heartache and loneliness of separation," he said.
"It is good for the millions of livelihoods in the United States that depend on global tourism. And it will boost the economic recovery by enabling some key business travel markets," said Walsh.
IATA said the announcement marks a key shift in managing the risks of Covid-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk. The next challenge is finding a system to manage the risks for travellers who do not have access to vaccinations.
Data points to testing as a solution. But it is also critical that governments accelerate the global rollout of vaccines and agree a global framework for travel where testing resources are focused on unvaccinated travellers, said IATA.
"We must get back to a situation where the freedom to travel is available to all," said Walsh.