The US will eventually require almost all foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated, a White House official has said, as reported by BBC. The unnamed official told several news agencies that the Biden administration had tasked inter-agency groups with creating a phased reopening for international visitors. No timeline for the decision was given. The US has seen a rise in cases, particularly among the unvaccinated, amid the spread of the Delta variant. Current Covid-19 rules prevent most international travelers from entering the country.
Since then, the US ban has expanded to include non-US citizens who had recently visited the UK, the 26-nation Schengen bloc in Europe, Brazil, Ireland, India, Iran and South Africa. Those who are able to enter the country, like persons traveling from Belize, must show proof of a negative Covid test taken within three days of travel.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the US would “maintain existing travel restrictions at this point” due to rising infections, despite opposition from airlines and the tourism industry. On Wednesday, the unnamed White House official said the administration was looking to reopen in a “safe and sustainable manner”, adding that “with limited exceptions… foreign nationals traveling to the United States – from all countries – need to be fully vaccinated”.
However, the U.S. is not the only planning to readjust its entry requirements. Just this week, Belize reinstated a mandatory pre-flight COVID-19 test, regardless of vaccination status. The new, updated entry requirement applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers at any point of entry: by air to the Philip Goldson International Airport, maritime ports, and land borders. Earlier this year, Belize became one of the first countries in the world to waive pre-flight COVID-19 entry testing for vaccinated travelers.