The Biden Administration has taken the decision to allow vaccinated travellers into the US from early November, including traffic originating in South Africa.
These passengers will require only proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test result prior to travel and, of course, the correct visa.
The new rules supersede the rules known as the 212f restrictions, which prevented anyone from entering the US if they were coming from or had been in one of 33 countries in the 14 days prior to boarding a flight bound for the US. The list of 33 countries included South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, India, Iran and China, plus the Schengen countries.
CEO of Thompsons Holidays, Joanne Adolphe, said: “It’s fantastic news! The US has taken a leap of faith, and this will be a major stepping stone for travel and for general trade. It’s also important for South African youngsters wanting to get into US universities. For Thompsons, the US has always been a top seller. We are authorised, direct sellers of Disney products and we have retained that position throughout the pandemic.”
A spokesperson for Delta Air Lines said the airline applauded the administration for establishing the path to reopening international travel to the US. “Science tells us that vaccinations coupled with testing is the safest way to reopen travel and we are optimistic this important decision will allow for continued economic recovery both in the US and abroad, and the reunification of families who have been separated for more than 18 months,” said the spokesperson.
Iata has welcomed the move. DG Willie Walsh said the new rules represented a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk. “Today’s announcement is a major step forward….The next challenge is finding a system to manage the risks for travellers who do not have access to vaccinations. Data points to testing as a solution. But it is also critical that governments accelerate the global roll-out of vaccines and agree a global framework for travel where testing resources are focused on unvaccinated travellers. We must get back to a situation where the freedom to travel is available to all,” said Walsh.