Lifting of US travel ban is a sign the pandemic is nearing an end, says Taoiseach

Lifting of US travel ban is a sign the pandemic is nearing an end, says Taoiseach

Micheál Martin and New York governor Kathy Hochul talk to reporters after their meeting in New York yesterday. Picture: Seth Wenig/AP

The Taoiseach has said the proposed lifting of the US travel ban is a sign the pandemic is nearing an end.

Speaking in New York, Micheál Martin said the US decision would be “a fillip” to the people of Europe.

Fully vaccinated EU travellers will be able to visit the US from November. The White House will lift the 18-month blanket ban on foreign travellers from entering the country, which was introduced by former US president Donald Trump at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

US president Joe Biden had resisted the move in recent months but has now announced a change of course and a welcome to visitors from the EU.

Mr Martin said the announcement was made because the rates of vaccination in Europe had risen in recent months. He had written to Mr Biden in August, outlining how Ireland was lifting restrictions.

“I think it is important economically for Ireland, particularly aviation and tourism, and, of course, the economic connectivity because of the large presence of American companies in Ireland and the need for executives to be coming to and fro,” Mr Martin said: 

So this is an important announcement, that gives us confidence now that the final phase, if you like, travel and tourism is about to get a significant fillip. This decision will also benefit places like New York, which are dependent on tourism and visitors.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney also praised the announcement.

“I welcome the announcement today by the White House that from November the US will lift travel restrictions on those who are fully vaccinated.  

This is something that we, along with our EU colleagues, have been advocating for a considerable time and we have alerted the US administration to the high levels of vaccination within Ireland.

“Ensuring ease of travel is vital for protecting our strong connections across the Atlantic, be that in business, academia, tourism, or family connections.

“With 90% of Irish adults now fully vaccinated, I know this will come as very good news for many in Ireland, the Irish living in the United States, as well as our American friends with links to Ireland and the rest of Europe.”

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