US Relaxes Travel Advisory for Americans Visiting the UK
As the vaccination programs in the United Kingdom continue to roll out at a steady pace, the US State Department has relaxed some travel warnings for American tourists hoping to cross the Atlantic.
In another promising sign for summer travel, the UK has been reduced from a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” rating, down to a “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” rating from 10 May 2021.
Israel, one of the world’s most vaccinated countries per capita, has been further reduced to “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution,” though it’s not currently allowing most foreign tourists.
Last April, the US State Department added 120 countries on the “Do Not Travel” list to align with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ratings. Although the UK and Israel were removed from the list, most other foreign destinations remain at Level 4: Do Not Travel on the US State Department’s travel advice.
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Part of UK’s Amber List
The move coincides with the British government’s announcement that overseas travel will be eased to select countries from 17 May 2021.
Unfortunately, the United States was placed on the amber travel list by the UK government. This means that despite the US State Department’s advice to American travellers, any arrivals from the United States to the United Kingdom, regardless of nationality, will continue to be required to quarantine for a period of 10 days.
Travellers from the US will need to pre-book a Day 2 and Day 8 testing package. The quarantine period can be reduced upon the completion of an additional PCR test after five days of quarantine. If that test returns a negative result, they can forgo the rest of the quarantine period.
Travel from UK to the US
At present, non-American citizens looking to visit the United States from the United Kingdom for leisure purposes are currently prohibited from doing so since March 2020.
Any American citizen or resident aged 2 and older returning from the UK to the US must also present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of flying or have documented proof from a licensed healthcare provider of recovery from the virus within the past 90 days.
The travel industry has been pushing the US and the UK to open a travel corridor between the two countries to allow for quarantine-free travel. With the UK’s announcement that the US didn’t make the green list, the idea faced a setback.
Reaction from the Travel Industry
US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued a statement on the release of the UK’s “traffic light system” for international travel:
The UK’s decision to put the United States on their amber status for reopening just isn’t backed by science. Putting the US on amber status ignores the scientific data regarding increasing vaccination rates, lower infection rates and that the US has the right strategies in place to mitigate risk.
The US needs to demonstrate leadership and come to the table with the UK and increase dialogue to allow for a reopening of travel with one of our most important international partners. The US economy will lose $262 billion and 1.1 million jobs if its borders remain shut, and putting a roadmap and timelines forward to quickly create a US-UK. travel corridor would be low-risk for both countries and high-reward economically.US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow
It has been reported that the Chief executives of the US and UK’s major airlines conjointly wrote to representatives of the two national governments, calling for a summit to help hasten the return of transatlantic travel.
A letter addressed to both the U.S. and U.K. transport secretaries, and signed by the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic states:
The airline industry needs adequate lead time to establish a plan for restarting air services, including scheduling aircraft and crews for these routes as well as for marketing and selling tickets.
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