Posted on Wednesday September 15, 2021 | 4:31 p.m.
Updated 43 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration plans to require COVID-19 vaccinations and contact tracing of international visitors after the United States revamped current general restrictions that bar many foreigners from traveling to United States, a senior White House adviser said on Wednesday.
Jeffrey Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, current travel restrictions will remain in place until the administration deploys a “new system” to regulate international travel.
The system will include a lead role for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We will also implement contact tracing to allow the CDC to track incoming international travelers and their entourage if anyone has potentially been exposed to COVID-19,” Zients said, “and we are exploring vaccination requirements for foreign nationals traveling. in the USA.”
Zients made the comments to a panel that advises Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on issues related to travel and the US tourism industry.
The United States is currently banning most non-Americans who have traveled to China, India, the United Kingdom, most of Europe, Brazil and other countries in the previous 14 days. Airlines and other travel agencies have pushed the administration to ease restrictions, especially for UK visitors.
Separately, Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said he would support a proposal to require vaccination of people on domestic flights.
The airline industry is adamantly opposed to such a requirement, saying it would be difficult to enforce and could lead to long queues at airports. Industry officials say it would be unfair to single out air travelers with a warrant that wouldn’t affect people who travel by train, bus or car.