On Monday Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio to announce that the US would reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Italian travelers, along with most of the EU and several other countries.
The two agreed on the importance of relaunching global vaccination efforts, including through the G20 summit in October.
Mr Blinken also confirmed he will attend the G20 Foreign Affairs meeting September 22nd, which Rome convened as a preparatory step ahead of the leaders’ summit on Afghanistan next month.
The Italian Embassy in the United States, led by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, saluted the lifting of the travel ban as “great news” on Twitter.
Mr Blinken’s phone call with Mr Di Maio happened the same day Jeff Zients, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, announced that starting from November, the US will allow foreign visitors to enter the country as long as they are vaccinated.
The breakthrough put an end to an 18-month ban on entering the country, signed by former President Donald Trump during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and upheld by President Joe Biden’s administration.
Under the measures currently in force, only citizens with US passports, their close family members and green card holders can enter the country.
Mr Zients explained that, starting from “early November,” those who wish to travel to the US will have to prove they are fully vaccinated and present a negative Covid-19 test, taken within three days of the departure. No quarantine will be required upon entering.
The coordinator added that, seeing as international travel is essential to connect families and friends, to grow small and large companies, to promote the exchange of ideas and culture, the administration had developed a science-based new international air travel system capable of guaranteeing the safety of US citizens.
The White House decision came at the eve of the United Nations General Assembly debate and the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has long called for the US to lift the ban. European diplomacy, too, has been pressing the Biden administration for months.
Now the Europeans may claim a victory, if only in the travel sector, given the recent sorrows dished out by the White House to several allied countries in the Old Continent on matters concerning Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.