Washington, Sept. 16 (BUS) – A senior White House adviser said the Biden administration is considering ordering COVID-19 vaccinations and contact tracing for international visitors after the United States renewed extensive existing restrictions that prevent many foreigners from traveling to the United States.
Jeffrey Zentes, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, current travel restrictions will remain in place until the administration rolls out a “new system” to regulate international travel, the AP reports.
The system will include a prominent role for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We will also put in place a contact tracing feature to enable the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to follow up with and around incoming international travelers if someone has been exposed to COVID-19, as we are exploring vaccination requirements for foreign nationals traveling to the United States,” Zenz said.
Zients made the comments before a panel advising Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on issues related to travel and the US tourism industry.
The United States is currently barring most non-Americans who have traveled to China, India, the United Kingdom, most of Europe, Brazil and other countries in the past 14 days. Airlines and other travel companies have pushed the administration to ease restrictions, especially on visitors to the United Kingdom.
Separately, Anthony Fauci, the government’s chief infectious disease expert, said he would support a proposal calling for vaccinations for people on domestic flights.
The airline industry is fiercely opposed to such a requirement, saying it would be difficult to implement and could lead to long queues at airports. Industry officials say it would be unfair to allocate air travelers with a mandate that does not affect people traveling by train, bus or car.