US to require essential workers crossing borders to be fully vaccinated for COVID
- Essential travellers entering US will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Saturday
- The non-US essential workers would have to present proof of vaccination at the land ports and ferry terminals
- The decision comes as the country fights a COVID surge fuelled by omicron
The non-US essential workers would have to present proof of vaccination at the entry, the Department of Homeland Security notified on Thursday.
"Starting on January 22, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security will require that non-US individuals entering the United States via land ports of entry or ferry terminals along our Northern and Southern borders be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and be prepared to show related proof of vaccination," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement, according to a CNN report.
"These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to protecting public health while safely facilitating the cross-border trade and travel that is critical to our economy," he added.
The Biden administration had opened the US borders with Canada and Mexico to fully vaccinated non-essential travellers. This requirement would be extended to essential travellers as well, the DHS said.
On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had advised against travel to 22 nations because of concerns over COVID surges. These included Israel, Australia, Egypt, Albania, Argentina, Uruguay, Panama, Qatar, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Suriname, Saint Lucia and Bolivia, among others, according to a Reuters report.
The CDC recommends that unvaccinated Americans avoid nonessential travel to those destinations.
The weight of the COVID-19 pandemic fuelled by the omicron variant, along with the rising inflation, has led to frustration among Americans. President Joe Biden's public approval rating fell to an all-time low of 43% this week, according to an opinion poll by Reuters/Ipsos.
"The fact of the matter is that we're in a situation where we have made enormous progress. You mentioned the number of deaths from COVID. Well, it was three times that not long ago. It's coming down. Everything is changing. It's getting better," Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday, reported AP.