USA will open soon, but expect low inbound medical travel

The USA will open to vaccinated tourists and medical tourists soon. This is good news for the inbound US medical tourism industry but many of the countries that send medical tourists to the USA have a much lower rate of vaccination than the USA, so numbers may be small for the rest of 2021.

The logic would be, although confirmation is awaited, that vaccinated Americans will also be allowed to travel to other countries as medical tourists, as long as the country allows them in.

Most European countries now allow in US medical tourists, as long as they have been vaccinated. Other medical tourism hotspots have no rules on vaccination, testing or quarantine, including Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

But while some countries open up borders others including Cambodia, Chile and Sri Lanka are again closing them.

The Biden administration has faced pressure from the air travel industry, and American politicians, to lift some restrictions from other countries. Many have complained that the travel restrictions do not reflect the current virus situation where parts of the USA are worse than in many of the prohibited nations.

The White House has launched interagency working groups with the European Union, UK, Canada and Mexico to look at how eventually to lift travel and border restrictions.

Foreign visitors to the United States will have to show a proof of having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when travel restrictions, that ban travellers from most of the world from entering the country, are finally lifted. The US Government is working on a plan.

The White House wants to re-open travel, which would boost business for the airlines and tourism industry, but travel restrictions that are currently barring visitors from many countries from travelling to the USA cannot vanish yet due to the rise of the highly transmittable Delta variant of the virus.

The Biden administration plans a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals travelling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated.

The policy is part of a larger initiative to begin relaxing travel restrictions from destinations such as Europe and the United Kingdom.

The United States currently bars most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in the UK, the 26 Schengen nations in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.