The US has dropped the Covid vaccine mandate for all its international passengers, even as the country ends its Covid emergency status, the White House has announced.
“While vaccination remains one of the most important tools in advancing the health and safety of employees and promoting the efficiency of workplaces,” the White House said, “we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary”.
While the requirement for coronavirus testing was dropped in June last year, the vaccination policy was not removed for foreign travellers. In February, the House of Representatives voted to end the last remaining pandemic restrictions on May 11.
“As we continue to monitor the evolving state of Covid-19 and the emergence of virus variants, we have the tools to detect and respond to the potential emergence of a variant of high consequence,” President Biden said in a proclamation published on May 1.
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“Considering the progress that we have made, and based on the latest guidance from our public health experts, I have determined that we no longer need the international air travel restrictions that I imposed in October 2021,” he added.
During the pandemic, the US was shut for all international travellers for 18 months. While the restrictions were eased in November 2021, foreign travellers were still required to be vaccinated and take a coronavirus test within three days of travel.
The new rules are part of the Biden administration’s decision to end the emergency from May 11 even as deaths and hospitalisations from Covid are at their lowest point since March 2020 in the country.