U.S. reopens to international travelers

Most European airlines reported full or nearly full passenger lists on Monday after the United States officially reopened its borders.

One grandmother from a Mediterranean island was flying for the first time by herself to see her twin grandchildren in San Francisco. Another French woman at Charles de Gaulle airport said she had not seen her husband in New York since January 2020.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Europe is an epicenter of rising coronavirus infections. Russia and Germany are still recording all-time high new cases, and Austria recently banned unvaccinated customers from restaurants and hotels. 

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What are the new travel rules? Every adult from a list of 33 countries, mostly European, must be vaccinated with few exceptions. Every traveler, including children over the age of 2, must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure. Those crossing land borders from Mexico and Canada must show vaccination proof to border patrol agents.

There are 50 countries where fewer than 10 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Travelers from these countries must seek express U.S. permission to fly in.

Officials will allow nearly every vaccine except Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s CanSino, which have not been approved by the WHO. Airlines must enforce the new travel rules or face a $35,000 fine per infraction.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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