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US opens border to fully vaccinated international travelers

New York, Nov 9 (IANS) The US has opened it doors to fully vaccinated international travelers, welcoming the visitors who have been shut out of the country for about 20 months, which is seen as a relief for the tourism industry and for families separated by previous Covid-19 rules.

International flight arrivals are expected to rise 11 per cent on Monday over a similar day in October at Newark Liberty and John F. Kennedy international airports, with 253 flights scheduled to arrive, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Xinhua news agency reported.

Airline executives have said bookings have surged since the Joe Biden administration said it would lift the restrictions. “Shares of United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines were each up more than 1 per cent in morning trading. Those carriers have the most international service of the U.S. airlines and stand to benefit from the resumption of US-bound travel,” reported CNBC.

The ban, put in place by former US President Donald Trump in early 2020 and expanded by President Joe Biden early this year, prohibited visitors from 33 countries, including Britain, much of Europe, China, Brazil and South Africa.

Now, visitors can fly into the United States with proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Documentation can be shown as a paper certificate, a photo of the document or a digitized version. There are exemptions for travellers under age 18 and passengers from countries with low vaccination availability.

Accepted vaccines are those approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and those listed for use by the World Health Organization: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

The United States will also require proof of a negative Covid-19 test from within the past three days for all vaccinated travelers. The country has required that since January for all arrivals, including US citizens. If a traveler is not vaccinated, the Covid-19 test must have been taken from within one day of departure.

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