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Aer Lingus says 'almost every seat' is booked this week as US ends 19-month ban on travel

The restrictions were first imposed by Donald Trump in March 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic first erupted.
Nov 8th 2021, 6:31 AM 23,631 24

Updated Nov 8th 2021, 9:15 AM

THE UNITED STATES reopens its land and air borders to foreign visitors today, ending the more than 19-month ban on non-essential travel.

Travellers heading stateside are required to be fully vaccinated and must also have a negative Covid-19 test, taken at least 72 hours before boarding the flight.

A ban on overland visitors from Canada and Mexico is also being lifted today.

Aer Lingus has said that “almost every seat” on each of its flights to the US this week is booked and that the airline is is anticipating “strong customer demand in the months ahead”. 

As well as societally and family connections between Ireland and the US, the American Chamber of Commerce estimates that there about 180,000 employees of US companies in Ireland. 

In an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, US borders were closed after March 2020 to travellers from large parts of the world, including the European Union, Britain and China, India and Brazil. Overland visitors from Mexico and Canada were also banned.

Under new rules from today, vaccinated air passengers will need to be tested within three days before travel, and airlines will be required to put in place a contact tracing system.

US health authorities have said that all vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organisation would be accepted for entry by air. At the moment, this includes the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

Unvaccinated travellers will still be allowed into the country for “essential” trips as they have been for the last year and a half. For unvaccinated people, their negative Covid-19 test must be conducted on a sample taken no more than one day before the flight’s departure.

Under guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention unvaccinated travellers are also required to get tested 3 to 5 days after arrival, unless you have documentation of having recovered from Covid-19 in the past 90 days.

A second phase beginning in early January 2022 will require all visitors to be fully vaccinated to enter the United States by land, no matter the reason for their trip.

Despite the strict border closures, the United States has not yet mandated vaccines for domestic air travel.

The lifting of US travel restrictions comes as the WHO issued warning against rising Covid-19 rates in Europe. The WHO blamed a combination of insufficient vaccination rates and a relaxation of preventative measures like mask-wearing and physical distancing.

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