The officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that the agency is going to issue a new air travel advisory for people who have been vaccinated in the US. The new advisory for air travel might solve many puzzles about international travel. They have said that experts at the CDC have been thinking over when to issue the much-awaited new guidelines for air travel. They have been planning to sketch out the guidance at a White House coronavirus briefing. Travel rules have come amid surging cases of COVID19 in the US and around the globe. There has been immense pressure on the CDC to issue new COVID travel rules as more and more people in the US are getting the vaccine.
The agency has issued limited guidelines on what activities people can resume after being vaccinated against COVID19. In the month of March, the CDC has said that people who have been vaccinated can safely conduct a gathering with people who have been vaccinated indoors without masks. However, such gatherings need to be small. Recently, the White House has been flooded with calls and inquiries from airlines and travel industry firms to announce updated guidelines for vaccinated people who want to travel this summer.
Top executives of the White House including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the chief medical advisor of the President; have said that new guidelines will address the rules to be followed at the workplace, houses of worship, and during travel. On the other hand, European officials have postponed high-level discussions on changing the travel policies for visitors from abroad that have been put in place for over a year due to surging cases of COVID19 and disrupted vaccination programs. The officials have said that the administration will review all travel rules considering the changing epidemiology at home and abroad. Such decisions will be guided by public health experts, said the officials. As cases of COVID19 are rising in mainland Europe, health experts have issued warnings that the US as well might be on the verge of a similar increase in the cases. The director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky has said that experts fear the US will witness similar surges that have been seen over the summer and winter all over again if travel regulations are changed. Walensky has said that the agency has been advising people to limit their travel and keep it restricted to only essential travel.
The Biden administration has applied new policies for all international travelers along with US citizens. The officials have made COVID negative report mandatory for international travelers before landing in the US. They have said that such people need to quarantine for seven days after they arrive in the US. The travel industry has been shattered due to the pandemic. However, they have been hoping that some of the travel rules will change during this summer as President Joe Biden has pledged that all adults in the US will be vaccinated by May 1, 2021. He has said that there will be sufficient doses for adults in the US by the end of May 2021.
Two officials from the Biden administration have said that the discussions on changing the travel policies in the US for international travelers might not materialize into a decision soon. International air travel is a vital source of income for the tourism industry in the US. Tourism industry leaders have been putting pressure on the Biden government to lighten up restrictions on international travel before the start of the summer season, as it will be critical for the tourism business. Airlines for America, the US Travel Association, Association of Flight Attendants, the US Chamber of Commerce, The American Hotel and Lodging Association including a dozen of other aviation, travel, and tourist firms have urged the Biden government to come up with a plan to loosen up the curbs on international travel by May 1, 2021.
These unions and firms have written a letter to the US government stating that people who have been vaccinated should be exempted from international testing obligations. These bodies have said that the CDC should update its guidelines and declare that vaccinated people can safely travel by plane. They have been demanding that the US government should hold talks with foreign governments to ease travel restrictions. The senior vice president of legislative policy for Airlines for America, Sharon Pinkerton has said that they have been trying to get some updates ahead of this summer to ensure there is a clear roadmap for the tourism industry and people. He has said that people should be aware of what ground rules will be there for travel. As of now, proof of vaccination does not allow passengers to skip travel obligations. Passengers need to furnish COVID negative tests to fly to the US.