US President Joe Biden has ended the COVID-19 related travel restriction imposed last month on the eight southern African nations due to the spread of coronavirus variant Omicron.
“In light of these changed circumstances, and based on the recommendation of the CDC, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to revoke Proclamation 10315. The travel restrictions imposed by that proclamation are no longer necessary to protect the public health,” said Biden in his presidential proclamation on Tuesday. This proclamation is effective at 12:01 am eastern standard time on December 31. Having learned more about the Omicron variant in the past several weeks, the CDC now recommends lifting the travel restrictions, read the proclamation.
“Importantly, scientific experts have determined that people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are protected against severe disease and hospitalization from the Omicron variant. Moreover, the Omicron variant has now spread to more than 100 countries, and it is prevalent in the United States,” proclamation added.
In particular, the CDC has shortened the timeline for required pre-departure COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travellers from no more than 3 days prior to travel to no more than 1 day, said Biden.
As a result, international air travellers to the United States from all countries, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must take a COVID-19 test within 1 day of departure and show a negative test result before they board a flight to the United States, said the Proclamation. That requirement has strengthened the already stringent international travel protocols that my Administration has imposed, including requirements for noncitizens to be fully vaccinated, subject to limited exceptions, and for travellers to wear face masks on commercial conveyances and at United States transportation hubs, it added.