The US reopens its borders to tourists
President Biden’s decision comes amidst a surge in Covid-19 cases
by: Theodore Williamson
In March 2020, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order to close American borders with the world (including its closest neighbour Canada) for all but essential reasons. Fast forward more than a year later, incumbent President Joe Biden has opened the country’s borders to citizens from all around the globe, including the UK.
The US Customs and Border Protection states that “non-citizen travellers who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation will be permitted to enter the United States via land ports of entry (POE) and ferry terminals” from early November onwards this year.
American Airlines aircraft on the tarmac. Photo courtesy of ArtisticOperations via Pixabay
As asserted by the US government's Centre for Disease Control (CDC), this measure relates to vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). For British travellers, this means that AstraZeneca is an acceptable vaccine to enter the US with, even though it is not offered to American citizens.
Apart from being vaccinated passengers will also need to present a negative Covid-19 test result and provide their contact information at the border control.
For many, the reopening of the US as a holiday destination signifies the return to normality, especially with Christmas being right around the corner. Destinations like New York City are some of the busiest locations for tourists at this time of year.
Yet, a question must be asked: is it the right time to allow people to travel? The number of Covid-19 cases during the week before writing this article in the entire United States exceeded 550 thousand. A further rise in the number of cases is also expected as we head into the colder months with less time spent outdoors which unequivocally results in the increased chance of virus transmission.
So, alongside the US, the UK will also likely see a surge in cases, especially if travel is allowed.
To what extent vaccinations and their rates help reduce the number of cases and fatalities, only time will tell. However, as flights leave airports across the UK and travel to and from our friends across the Atlantic, at the moment there is no chance of reversing what might come.