The US is lifting its travel ban on South African travellers by November 2021 and will allow access to South Africans as long as they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
For more than 18 months, the US government has maintained a sweeping travel ban imposed on most countries. A move that was first put into place by former President Donald Trump in the early stages of the pandemic.
However, Media24 reports that new measures announced by the White House on Monday are set to begin easing restrictions on the UK, 26 Schengen countries in Europe, as well as Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India.
Before boarding a flight to the United States, travellers must be able to prove that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. If they are able to provide these, they will not be required to quarantine upon arrival in the US, according to AFP.
While a precise date has yet to be announced, the measures are expected to take effect in “early November.” The measures are also being cast as a crackdown by the White House, according to Bloomberg, and point to stricter testing rules and a new contact tracing regimen.
The new measures will also replace the current system, which includes outright bans on entry for foreigners who have been in certain regions like the UK and the EU within the previous two weeks, regardless of vaccination status.
“We know vaccines are effective, including against the Delta variant, and vaccines are the best line of defence against [COVID-19], so this vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” said White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients.
“We will protect Americans here at home and enhance the safety of international travel.”