England to Admit Vaccinated U.S. and E.U. Visitors Without Quarantine
Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and the European Union will be allowed entry into England and Scotland without quarantine upon arrival from August 2, UK authorities said on Wednesday as they sought to attract tourists after months of restrictions.
“We are helping to reunite people living in the United States and in European countries with their family and friends in the United Kingdom,” said Grant Shapps, Secretary for Transport. wrote on Twitter.
Last week, the British government relaxed almost all restrictions in England despite a sharp rise in infections. Cases have since declined, surprising experts and government officials who expected them to continue to rise.
The government has been criticized for distinguishing between travelers who have been vaccinated in Britain and those who have been vaccinated elsewhere, without any medical justification. Vaccinated people arriving in England from most of the ‘Amber List’ countries, those with moderately high transmission, have been forced to self-isolate – unless they received their vaccines in. Britain.
From next Monday, the rules will also apply to all travelers from the United States, European Union, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland who have been fully vaccinated with vaccines authorized by regulators. American or European drugs, Shapps said. It is unclear how UK authorities will check the vaccination status of travelers if they get vaccinated elsewhere.
He said travelers will still need a negative coronavirus test before travel and will still need to take a PCR test after reaching England. It remains unclear whether a PCR test or an antigen test could be used before the trip.
The tourism industry has long advocated policy change. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier Wednesday that he wanted American travelers to come to England “freely”. The national government made the switch for England, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland made their own policies. The Scottish government quickly followed London’s lead.
Most European countries have opened up to American tourists after the European Union recommended lifting the ban on non-essential travel last month. Yet, EU and UK residents are still mostly banned from traveling to the US, unless they are US citizens.
The Biden administration said Monday it would continue to restrict the entry of Europeans and others into the United States, citing concerns that infected travelers could contribute to the spread of the contagious Delta variant. The State Department advises American travelers not to travel to Britain, Spain or Portugal and reconsider their travel to other parts of Western Europe.
Few experts are ready to draw definitive conclusions from the overall decline in cases in Britain over the past week, which could reflect transient factors like summer school holidays, the end of the European Championships football or fewer people tested.
But if the trend continues, it raises a tantalizing prospect that Mr Johnson may have rightly bet that the country could resist a return to normal, even with the Delta variant circulating widely.
Mr Shapps also said on Twitter that international cruises would resume and the government would offer flexible testing programs to key workers, although he did not provide details.
Mark Landler contributed reports.
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