The State Department said it will “no longer” charge Americans thousands of dollars to board evacuation flights out of Afghanistan, but it did say if it will reimburse those that have already been charged.
State Department spokesman Ned Price issued a statement to the press Thursday afternoon saying the Biden administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.” But as of late Friday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after Price issued his statement, Americans seeking to secure evacuation out of Kabul continue to be told in a required government form that they’ll need to reimburse the U.S. government upwards of $2,000 or more for their evacuation.
“Repatriation flights are not free,” question 14 of the Repatriation Assistance form stated late Friday afternoon. “A promissory note for the full cost of the flight, which may exceed $2,000 per person, must be signed by each adult passenger before boarding.”
United Airlines announced Friday that it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting this fall, making it the first major airline to do so.
“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart announced in a memo. “But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”
The order requiring proof of vaccination will go into effect five weeks after the Federal Drug Administration officially gives full approval of the COVID-19 vaccines, or by Oct. 25, whichever comes first, The Hill newspaper reports. The FDA is expects to start giving full approval as early as next month.
Democratic Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser denied breaking her own mask mandate at a wedding Saturday night, despite photo evidence showing her seated maskless at a table.
The Washington Examiner first reported late Saturday that the mayor had officiated a wedding attended by “hundreds of unmasked guests” at 5-star Adams Morgan hotel, The Line DC.
The Examiner included a photograph of the mayor seated at a table maskless, noting that she “did not wear a mask despite not actively eating or drinking.” Several other guests in the picture are also not wearing masks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that Americans who are vaccinated for COVID-19 will now be able to travel domestically and internationally.
The CDC officially made the announcement during the White House Covid Briefing and said Americans will still need to wear masks and observe social distancing while traveling.
Americans are unlikely to be allowed into more than 30 European countries for business or tourism when the continent begins next week to open its borders to the world, due to the spread of the coronavirus and President Donald Trump’s ban on European visitors.
More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe each year, and such a decision would underscore flaws in the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, which has seen the United States record the highest number of infections and virus-related deaths in the world by far.
The State Department is suspending visa services in most countries across the world, the Trump administration’s latest response to mitigating the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released late Wednesday, the State Department announced it’s cancelling all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant appoints at embassies and consulates in numerous countries. The suspensions became effective immediately, and no specific date was provided on when services would begin again.
Fever, cough and shortness of breath are symptoms to watch for with the coronavirus, the CDC says.