He announced, made this Monday by the White House, will have great repercussions not only for the country but for the majority of citizens of the world who today can enter the United States simply by presenting a negative coronavirus test with three days of validity.
Since November, in addition to this negative test, it will be necessary to present a document that demonstrates the covid vaccination. In other words, the US has just given the green light to a universal mandate that will cover everyone who is not a citizen of this country.
The news also implies that within a period of less than 45 days the call will be formally ended “vaccination tourism “ since those not inoculated could no longer enter the United States to apply the biological.
Curiously, in the US, the news was sold as a lifting of restrictions since it eliminates the existing veto against 33 countries of the world, mostly European (plus Brazil, China, India, Iran and South Africa).
These countries were on a blacklist since March 2020 that had been generating strong tensions with the Old Continent then the Americans if they are allowed to enter.
And the news, for the citizens of these nations, is certainly good.
Many families, in fact, had been separated for 18 months and from November they will be able to meet again as long as they are vaccinated and give negative to the covid test.
But in the case of Colombia and 150 other nations of the world, the effect would be the opposite. This is because in most vaccination rates are still low.
In the case of our country, which is 30 percent, It means that 7 out of 10 adults would not be able to enter the US starting in November.
In accordance with Jeffrey Zients, the coordinator for the White House pandemic, the idea of the turn is to focus no longer on countries but on individuals.
“Anyone who wants to come to the US can come as long as they are vaccinated,” Zients said.
The measure was initially applauded by both the tourism industry and aeronautics, two sectors very hit by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
According to the US Association for Tourism, between the two they lost more than US $ 500,000 billion dollars during this period.
And while the new measure could reactivate one segment of the sector, it could also depress another. In this case the tourism of the unvaccinated or those who travel to the US to obtain the biological.
In addition, it is yet to be determined what type of vaccines the US will accept as valid in order to enter. Currently in the country the FDA has only granted authorization for vaccines of Pfizer, Moderna y Johnson and Johnson.
And it is not clear whether those inoculated with Astrazeneca (Great Britain) or Sinovac (China) will receive the go-ahead.
There are also no details about the type of documents that the US will accept as proof of vaccination.
According to Zients, all those details will be defined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in the coming days. In the case of Colombia, almost the entire population over 65 years of age is vaccinated are Sinovac.
Several diplomatic sources consulted by this newspaper expressed surprise and fear at the announcement because there is very little time left for its entry into force and because its implementation will require a great deal of work from both airlines and governments.
The measure will also affect unvaccinated Americans who want to enter their country.
From November they can only travel if they contribute a negative test for Covid 19 practiced 24 hours before the trip (before it was three days in all cases).
The new decision, clarified the White House, will not rule on land borders
SERGIO GÓMEZ MASERI
EL TIEMPO correspondent
En Twitter @ sergom68