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The United States on Tuesday relaxed its travel warnings to a number of major countries, including Japan, host of the Olympics, with hopes that widespread vaccinations will bring a return to normal travel.
Close U.S. allies and neighbors including Canada, Mexico, France and Germany have also received upgrades, with the State Department asking Americans to reconsider their trips, but ending its general advice not to go there at all.
South Korea has received a certificate of good health, with the State Department saying Americans can take normal precautions when visiting – the standard US travel advice for developed countries before the pandemic.
A State Department official said he revised his travel guidelines after new recommendations a day earlier from the Centers for Disease Control, which called on Americans to be fully immunized before traveling, but unvaccinated people to ‘avoid travel.
“As conditions change, we regularly update our advice for US travelers,” the official said.
These travel tips have been closely watched for when the United States will end restrictions imposed over a year ago by former President Donald Trump that banned most visitors from the European Union and the Great -Brittany.
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said on Monday that any easing of travel restrictions for Europeans to the United States would be transparent and “guided by science and evidence.”
“We have heard very clearly the desire of our friends in Europe and the UK to be able to reopen travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and we want that to happen,” Sullivan told reporters.
“But we have to follow the science and we have to follow the advice of our public health professionals. So we are actively engaging with them to determine the timeline.”
– Increase in vaccinations –
The State Department grabbed the headlines last month warning against any travel to Japan, which will host the Olympics in July, already postponed for a year due to Covid.
The Summer Games have sparked public opposition in Japan, preventing overseas fans from coming.
Other countries where US travel advice has been relaxed include South Africa, which has fought a variant of Covid, as well as Greece and Spain, which have been at the forefront of the reopening to tourists.
Spain opened to tourists from all over the world on Monday if they are vaccinated, while Greece is also allowing entry of unvaccinated visitors if they prove they are HIV negative for Covid.
Biden has set a goal of delivering at least one injection of the Covid-19 vaccine by July 4 to 70% of American adults – a goal within reach despite a slowdown after initial enthusiasm.
Complicating all efforts to facilitate international travel, the United States does not centralize its immunization records and has large segments of the population deeply suspicious of “vaccine passports.”
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, said on Monday that the bloc as a whole wanted to open up to vaccinated Americans but insisted on “reciprocity”.
Meanwhile, European countries have come up with a mishmash of rules as they balance public health and revive tourism economies that were devastated last year.
France, the world’s leading tourist destination, has removed restrictions on EU residents as well as travelers from a number of other countries, including Australia, Israel, Japan, Singapore and Korea. South, while requiring negative Covid tests by visitors from North America, Britain and most of Asia and Africa.
In May, the United States already relaxed its travel warning to Britain, which was early and aggressive in vaccinating its population.
© 2021 AFP