The travel industry urges Biden to set standards for health passports and lift international travel bans
COVID-19 vaccination card issued by the Centers for Disease Control
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U.S. airlines and more than two dozen other industry groups on Monday called on the Biden government to work out a plan by May to lift international travel restrictions, including standards for digital vaccination passports, after cross-border travel was destroyed by the Covid pandemic .
Airlines for America, which represents major US carriers like American, United, Southwest, and others, have one letter Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 Response Team coordinator, said the guidelines should exempt vaccinated individuals from international testing rules.
Among other things, the groups urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update their guidelines to say vaccinated people can travel safely, according to a copy of the letter viewed by CNBC.
“To be clear, we do not currently endorse the repeal or relaxation of key public health safeguards such as the universal mask mandate, in-depth international testing requirements, physical distancing, or any other measure that will make travel safer and the transmission of life Virus, “said the letter, which was also signed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest flight attendant union, and other industry groups. “However, the data and science show that the right public health measures are now being taken to effectively mitigate risk and allow entry restrictions to be lifted safely.”
Most non-US citizens who have recently been to Europe, the UK and Brazil have been banned from entering the US since March last year, when then-President Donald Trump introduced the rules when Covid-19 spread around the world . In January, President Joe Biden expanded entry restrictions and added South Africa to the list as infections and new, more contagious varieties emerged
The group also called on the White House to set standards for digital health records that immigration officials can use to show evidence of vaccinations or test results.
Meanwhile, airlines and officials have been looking for ways to use digital vaccines or health passports to boost travel and eventually replace travel restrictions. The European Union last week proposed a digital health certificate with a QR code that contains vaccine and Covid-19 test results.
Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines CEO, told NBC Nightly News last week that he expects digital vaccine passports to be required for international travel.
The White House declined to comment, citing a recommendation against travel that CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky had given on Monday.
“Now is not the time to travel,” she said at a press conference.
“We are concerned not only with what happens when you are on the plane yourself, but also with what happens when people travel, that is, they go out, they mingle, they mingle with people who are not vaccinated “, she said.