By Shermain Bique-Charles
Prime Minister Gaston Browne is lauding a decision by the United States to reopen its land and air borders on November 8 to foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The latest decision ends a more than 18-month ban on travel from much of the globe that separated families, hobbled tourism and strained diplomatic ties.
White House assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz said the decision to ease restrictions was guided by public health, stringent and consistent and applies to both international air travel and land travel.
Prime Minister Browne told Observer yesterday that the latest decision by the United States was long in coming.
“Back in March, I told you all no vaccination no travel. You could have seen precisely where the world was going. I hope that our people will take heed and get vaccinated so we can restore normalcy as soon as possible,” Browne said.
In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, US borders were closed after March 2020 to travellers from large parts of the world, including the European Union, Britain and China, India and Brazil. Overland visitors from Mexico and Canada were also banned.
The months of restrictions affecting hundreds of millions of people helped fuel both personal and economic suffering brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not all the technical and logistical details of the new policy have yet been announced.
But officials had previously outlined it, saying that vaccinated air passengers will need to be tested within three days before travel, and airlines will be required to put in place a contact tracing system.
US health authorities have said that all vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization would be accepted for entry by air.
At the moment, this includes the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.