2 min read.Updated: 17 Oct 2021, 10:17 AM ISTLivemint
US Covid-19 travel guidelines: Indians who have taken either Bharat Biotech's Covaxin or Sputnik, will not be able to travel to the US next month
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The United States of America will be lifting Covid-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors, including Indians starting November 8. With this, the US has ended historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the US for as long as 21 months.
The official White House order stated, "Starting November 8, the United States will admit fully vaccinated foreign air travelers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil".
The US has not announced any travel-specific, quarantine or Covid-19 testing guidelines yet. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use, as well as those authorized by the WHO, will be accepted for entry into the United States.
So far, the WHO has approved seven vaccines--Moderna's m-RNA-1273; Pfizer/BioNTech's BNT162b2; Johnson & Johnson' Ad26.COV2.S; Oxford/AstraZeneca's AZD1222; Serum Institute of India's Covishield; Sinopharm's BBIBP-CorV (Vero Cells), and Sinovac's CoronaVac.
Besides, the CDC said that it will also accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from international travellers.
"Individuals who have any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series are considered fully vaccinated," the CDC added.
According to the WHO, nearly 50 countries have approved the Serum Institute's Covishield vaccine. These include--The US, the UK, Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentine, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Honduras, Hungary, Jamaica, Lebanon, Madagascar, Maldives, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ukraine.
However, as per the CDC's notification, Indians who have taken either Bharat Biotech's Covaxin or Sputnik, will not be able to travel to the US next month.
The Centre is hopeful that the WHO will soon give approval to India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin. Recently, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday expressed hope that the WHO will soon give approval to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
“It is not the administrative or political process, rather it is a technical process of WHO. Technical Committee will evaluate the submissions made by Bharat Biotech which created Covaxin. I am sure the approval of Covaxin from WHO will come at the soonest possible," Shringla said.
The restrictions on non-US citizens were first imposed on air passengers from China in January 2020 and then extended to dozens of other countries, without any clear metrics for how and when to lift them.
However, with the ease in US travel curbs, the non US air travellers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight, and will need to show proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative test.
The new rules do not require foreign visitors or Americans entering the country to go into quarantine. The CDC plans to issue new rules soon on contact tracing for international air travellers.
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