Fri, 17 Sep 2021

No sign of US easing Covid travel ban on Ireland

Robert Besser
13 Sep 2021, 21:35 GMT+10

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Critics of the continuing U.S. Covid travel ban on Europeans grew more vocal last week, as Daniel Mulhall, Ireland's ambassador to the U.S. said he "fully agreed" that "banning fully vaccinated Europeans from entering America is damaging to EU-US relations in so many ways".

He noted that there are "many Irish people" who are "unable to visit family, despite being fully vaccinated".

"I feel for them, separated from loved ones for up to two years now," he added on Twitter.

Mulhall also said that it is "hard to disagree" that "it is time to lift the travel ban on Europe and allow vaccinated travelers to come to the US".

Mulhall's comments followed criticism of U.S. policy by Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU ambassador to the U.S., who called for the travel ban against Europeans to be lifted.

In a Tweet, Lambrinidis said, "70% of EU adults are now fully vaccinated. The US can safely let vaccinated Europeans in (with existing pre-flight testing), as the EU lets in vaccinated Americans."

As with European nations, Ireland is listed among the nations currently banned from entry to the United States.

The U.S. travel ban, introduced in March 2020, is still in place. No date has been announced as to when it might be lifted.

Besides Ireland, the U.S. travel ban also applies to the UK, the European Schengen area, China, India, Iran, Brazil and South Africa.

Currently, only citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States, along with certain family members and other people who meet specified exceptions, are allowed to enter the States.

U.S. tourists have been able to enter Europe since June.

Irish American Congressman Brendan Boyle was critical of the ban this week, noting that it has been imposed on Irish and EU nationals for more than 500 days.

"The blanket ban on EU citizens coming to the U.S. makes no sense, especially given many EU countries have higher COVID-19 vaccination rates and far fewer Covid-19 cases," he said on Twitter.

"As long as those wanting to come to the US test negative for Covid-19 and are vaccinated, they should be allowed in."

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, said last week that the situation remains unchanged.

"We certainly understand that and relate to that, and know that people are eager to be reunited with loved ones -and that is something that's impacting many people around the world," she told CNN.

Ongoing talks are continuing between the U.S. and the EU to resume travel between the continents.

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