By Faith Nyasuguta
After a 20 month entry ban, the US has finally reopened its borders- but only two fully vaccinated foreign visitors.
The ban had been imposed by former President Donald Trump to counter the rising cases of Covid-19.
The directive affected non-US citizens from about 30 nations including the UK and EU states, separating families and bringing a halt to international tourism.
With the lift of the ban, airlines are expected to flood with fully jabbed visitors who will undergo testing and contact tracing.
“It feels good, it feels good!” Jerome Thomann, head of Paris-based travel agency Jetset Voyages, told Reuters news agency, revealing that his team had already seen an “incredible upturn” in bookings.
In early 2020, US borders were shut to travellers from China before the restrictions were extended to other nations in a bid to halt the Covid-19 spread.
The directive prohibited entry to most non-US citizens who had been in the UK among other European countries, as well as China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
With the fresh rules, foreign travellers must show proof of vaccination before flying.
They will also need to get a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of travel, and submit their contact information. Quarantine will no longer be imposed.
Speaking to the AFP news agency, Alison Henry, a 63-year-old British mother said: “It’s been so hard – I just want to see my son.”
Ms Henry, from Cheshire, is set to fly to New York this week to see her son for the first time in 20 months.
The land borders between the US and Canada, Mexico will also reopen for those fully vaccinated.
Already, thousands of migrants have arrived in areas along Mexico’s border with the US, seeking to take advantage of the newly-relaxed rules.
Further, businesses in cities along the border with Mexico are expecting a boost after struggling for months under America’s Covid-induced restrictions.
For United Airlines, it hopes for a 50 per cent jump in international inbound passengers, whereas Delta’s chief executive Ed Bastian cautioned travellers that there will be massive queues.
Mr Bastian said: “It’s going to be a bit sloppy at first. I can assure you, there will be lines unfortunately.”
In June, the EU recommended allowing American travellers into the bloc but visitors from the US have been able to travel to the UK since July 28.