Travel: Simon Calder says new quarantine rules ‘ludicrous’
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Hopes of transatlantic travel have been high in recent weeks following the UK’s exceptional vaccine rollout and the start of the summer holiday season. But despite this, many countries have decided to keep travel restrictions that have been in place for nearly 18 months.
The US is one of these and is currently not willing to budge on its restrictions so far.
A travel ban remains in place for the majority of UK residents, with US President Joe Biden announcing the extension travel restrictions.
There are some exemptions, including permanent US residents, US citizens, specified close family members, and diplomats.
A White House official told Reuters on Monday: “Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point.”
The Biden Government has cited rising COVID-19 cases as the reason for not lifting restrictions.
Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said recently that the Delta variant, originally found in India earlier this year, now accounts for 80 percent of all US cases.
On July 20, the CDC placed Britain at the highest travel warning level, meaning Americans should not visit unless it is in exceptional circumstances.
All passengers flying into the USA from anywhere else in the world are required to provide proof of a negative Covid test, PCR or antigen, taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
The CDC also requires that unvaccinated travellers quarantine for at least seven days after arrival in the states, and take a Covid test between days three and five.
However, those who have been vaccinated with an FDA approved vaccine do not need to quarantine.
Both the UK and the EU have slammed Mr Biden’s decision, calling for reciprocity.
Currently, Europeans are banned from entering the US, but Americans can visit Europe with proof of vaccination or a negative test.
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Brits are also forbidden from entering the US, while fully vaccinated travellers from America will be allowed into the UK without the need to quarantine from Monday, August 2.
The US has been shut to the majority of UK travellers since March 2020, after first imposing travel restrictions on China in January 2020.
The US has been particularly stringent with its travel measures, with the vast majority of countries not permitted entry to the states 18 months into the pandemic.
However, travel across the Atlantic could resume sooner than we think despite recent statements.
It is believed the US might lift restrictions in the autumn when the effects of lifting lockdowns and vaccination levels are better understood.
America’s chief medical advisor Dr Anthony Fauci said in June: “I think once they [the UK] get more and more people vaccinated and get the people who’ve gotten a single dose to make sure they get their second dose, I think the UK is going to be in a very favourable position by the time we get to the end of the summer.”
Can I travel to the UK from the USA?
Yes you can – England will allow fully vaccinated residents and visitors from USA to arrive without needing to quarantine from next week, in a huge and long-awaited boost for airlines and travel companies.
The change also applies to most EU countries as well.
Boris Johnson told LBC Radio earlier on Wednesday that he wanted US citizens to come to England “freely” and was discussing making changes.
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