US eases COVID entry restrictions

The United States has drastically eased its coronavirus entry restrictions, opening its doors to more foreign travelers.

The US on Monday began allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enter the country.

The vaccines accepted include those approved or authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as vaccines with an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization. Children under the age of 18 are exempt from the vaccine requirement.

Fully vaccinated air travelers will be required to show, before boarding a flight to the US, proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days earlier. The proof of vaccination should be a paper or digital record issued by an official source.

They will also be required to provide documentation of a pre-departure negative test for the virus from a sample taken within three days of travel to the US.

The move means that travelers from Japan are now required to be fully vaccinated as well. Until the new rules came into effect, people could travel from Japan to the US as long as they provided proof that they had tested negative for the virus.

Officials in the airline and travel industry are welcoming the move, as it represents a significant easing of travel restrictions. The previous rules banned entry by those who had been in such countries as China and India, or a number of European nations, during the 14 days leading up to travel to the US.