WASHINGTON: The United States announced Friday that it will allow entry to foreign travelers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, by both land and air, starting November 8.
"This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent," tweeted White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz in announcing the news.
In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, US borders were closed after March 2020 to travelers from much of the globe, including the European Union, Britain and China, India and Brazil. Overland visitors from Mexico and Canada were also banned.
The months of restrictions led to both personal and economic suffering.
Under the new policy that was outlined last month, 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.
Earlier this week, a White House source said the land border opening would happen in two phases.
Initially, vaccines will be required for "non-essential" trips -- such as visiting family or tourism -- though unvaccinated travelers will still be allowed into the country for "essential" trips as they have been for the last year and a half.
A second phase beginning in early January 2022 will require all visitors to be fully vaccinated to enter the United States by land, no matter the reason for their trip.