Pax Global Media
COVID-19 vaccines and the role they play in resuming international travel continues to make headlines after a White House official, on Wednesday (Aug 4), revealed that the U.S. is developing a plan to require most foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The decision is part of a greater plan to eventually lift U.S. travel restrictions, a White House official told Reuters.
While there is interest in reopening the U.S. to the world after months of pandemic-related restrictions, the White House isn’t prepared to do so just yet because of the highly-contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, which is rapidly spreading across the country.
U.S. President Joe Biden has a team working "to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel," the official told Reuters, adding it includes "a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals travelling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated."
According to figures published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant now accounts for roughly 93.4 percent of COVID-19 circulating in the U.S.
The CDC also reports that hospitalizations are up 46 per cent and deaths were also up, representing an average of 296 a week during the last week of July), showing a 33 per cent increase from the week before.
Last month, the U.S. extended its land border restrictions with Canada until at least Aug. 21.
Canada, however, is set to reopen its border to U.S. travellers next Monday on Aug. 9.
While the land border is closed, Canadians, throughout the pandemic, have still been allowed to enter the U.S. by air.
Last Sunday (Aug. 1), U.S. vaccination rates hit its highest pace in weeks after the CDC reported that 816,203 additional doses were administered – the fifth straight day the agency recorded more than 700,000 shots in arms.
According to CDC data released that same day, 168.4 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, or 49.6% of the population.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today! Click here to follow PAX on Facebook.