A number of international news outlets are reporting today that the Biden administration will require all international travellers going into the United States to be fully vaccinated and tested for Covid-19.
The new measures could spike vaccination rates in the Turks and Caicos Islands since many Turks and Caicos Islanders travel to the U.S. each month to shop and/or vacation.
The report stated that starting early November, foreign nationals will be allowed to fly into the U.S. if they are fully vaccinated and able to show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a U.S.-bound flight, White House Covid coordinator Jeffrey Zients was credited as saying.
The report said the requirement should ease travel restrictions that limited entry into the U.S. in many cases for noncitizens who had recently been in 33 countries, including many European nations and the United Kingdom, regardless of vaccination status.
But for travellers outside of those countries, the new system will put stricter requirements in place that could be a barrier to those living in countries where vaccines are in short supply.
"We will move to this much stricter global system, so we will have a consistent approach across all countries, it will require foreign nationals to be vaccinated, to prove they're vaccinated, and then to go through the testing and contact tracing regiments," Zients was quoted as saying.
The report said the U.S. will also start putting additional testing requirements in place. Foreign nationals will have to be tested three days prior to departure to the U.S. and show proof of a negative test, and unvaccinated Americans will have to test within one day of departure and be required to test again after their arrival.
The report said the CDC will also require airlines to collect information for each U.S.-bound traveller, including their phone number and email address, to aid public health officials in contact tracing.
While there is still no vaccination requirement for domestic air travel, Zients, according to the report, said nothing is off the table.
"We clearly have a track record that shows we're pulling available levers to acquire vaccinations and we're not taking any measures off the table on specific authorities used for implementation," he said.
NBC News said Zients didn't detail what vaccines will qualify and what would constitute as fully vaccinated and said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would provide further details.
The new policy applies only to air travel and not land border crossings, which have been closed to nonessential travel between Canada and Mexico.