The US government announced on Thursday that it was extending the need that non-US citizens be vaccinated against the coronavirus before crossing land or ferry terminals at the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders.
The rules were first enacted in November as part of a plan to restore the United States’ borders to international tourists after they had been closed to the majority of visitors since March 2020. Unless they were extended, the immunization obligations were slated to expire on Thursday.
International air travelers above the age of 2 must provide a negative test for the virus prior to arrival, regardless of citizenship, and non-US nationals must additionally show proof of immunization. A negative test is not required for those going by land or by ferry.
The guidelines do have some exceptions, such as for persons who have recently recovered from Covid-19.
The decision was taken following consultation with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, according to the Homeland Security Department (DHS). Vaccines, according to the CDC, are the most effective public health strategy for preventing severe Covid-19-related disease or death.
In January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended vaccination requirements to foreign vital employees crossing U.S. land borders, such as truck drivers and nurses.
President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, Chuck Lippstreu, blasted the Department of Homeland Security for failing to provide “common-sense exemptions to this policy for agricultural truck drivers,” saying it “flies in the face of reality on the ground here in Michigan, where our agriculture sector continues to face supply disruptions, increases in cross-border trucking costs, and an ongoing driver shortage.”
COVID-19 pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated international passengers going to the United States should be eliminated, according to major airlines.
They say that testing procedures are superfluous and that the expenses of testing and the possibility of being stranded abroad if they test positive prevent Americans from traveling abroad.
Pre-departure testing is no longer required for fully vaccinated tourists in the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, and many other countries.