US extends vaccination requirement to foreigners crossing by land
An illustration picture taken on January 19, 2022, shows a syringe with a coronavirus image in the background.

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP)— Foreigners wishing to enter the United States via a land border -- no matter the reason for their trip -- will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security said Thursday.

The United States, which had largely closed its borders to the outside world at the start of the pandemic, reopened to most travellers in November, on the condition that they were vaccinated.

Foreigners arriving via land or by ferry from Mexico and Canada had been exempt for "essential" trips, especially for professional reasons. 

But that exemption will expire Saturday, particularly affecting commuters who live and work on opposite sides of either the Canadian-US or Mexican-US borders.

DHS said the new measure is aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus infections in the country.

Travellers should "be prepared to show related proof of vaccination," said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement. 

The new rules, which do not apply to American citizens or US residents, could cause further logistical issues in an already strained transportation sector. 

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