‘Open for business:’ U.S. welcomes first travellers as COVID travel curbs are lifted

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Packed intercontinental flights touched down and people embraced relatives at land borders on Monday after the United States lifted restrictions imposed on travellers from much of the world when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The travel ban, first imposed in early 2020, had barred access to non-U.S. citizens travelling from 33 countries – including China, India and much of Europe – and had also restricted overland entry from Mexico and Canada.

“Today America is open for business. That is our message to the world,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Reuters in an interview at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

Jez Cartwright, 49, was one of the first passengers off BA001, the first British Airways flight to land at JFK airport from London’s Heathrow airport.

“It’s brilliant to be on a full plane again,” he said.

Earlier, on the opposite facet of the Atlantic, travellers boarding planes at airports in Frankfurt, Paris and London mentioned they have been desirous to reunite with household and buddies.

“I used to be meant to go simply earlier than COVID occurred, and clearly it has been delayed this lengthy, so it is actually thrilling to lastly be capable of go,” Alice Keane, travelling to Miami to see her sister, mentioned at London’s Heathrow airport.

Months of pent-up demand triggered a serious spike in bookings on Monday, with travellers solely required to indicate official proof of vaccination.

No main points at airports have been flagged in an early morning name between airways and U.S. authorities officers.

The flights have been full, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss mentioned on what he referred to as a “main day of celebration,” whereas passenger quantity was anticipated to stay excessive in coming weeks with the strategy of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

via Reuters

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