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White House to Form Working Groups With Europe, UK, Canada and Mexico to Lift Travel Restrictions

White House to Form Working Groups With Europe, UK, Canada and Mexico to Lift Travel Restrictions

Photo Credit: Chicago Airports

The White House COVID-19 Response Team will set up expert working groups with counterparts in Europe and the United Kingdom, and Canada and Mexico with the aim of drawing up plans for the safe restart of international travel and the lifting of border restrictions, a Biden administration official told Reuters on Tuesday.

The administration was not able to say when the working groups would be set up or when they were due to report back. One insider claimed any decision to lift travel restrictions that have been in place for more than 15 months won’t be made until the groups have presented their findings.

“While we are not reopening travel today, we hope that these expert working groups will help us use our collective expertise to chart a path forward, with a goal of reopening international travel with our key partners when it is determined that it is safe to do so,” a White House official was quoted as saying.

The news came just hours after the US State Department eased pandemic travel advisories for a slew of countries based on the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Countries including Canada, France and Germany were moved from the highest Level 4 ‘Do not travel’ advisory to Level 3 ‘ Reconsider travel’. Some countries, such as France and Spain have already loosened restrictions which will allow American’s to visit on vacation over the summer.

Europeans living in the Schengen zone, however, are still subject to the so-called 212(f) travel ban which was extended by President Biden as soon as he took office. The Presidential proclamation also applies to the United Kingdom and the US border with Canada and Mexico remains closed.

On Monday, airline and travel leaders came together to urge President Biden and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ease travel restrictions in both directions on the back of successful vaccination rollouts in the two countries.

Airline chief executives from the likes of British Airways, United and Virgin Atlantic were hoping that Biden and Johnson would come to deal at this weeks G7 meeting which is being held in England.

White House sources, however, claim there will be no rush for the expert working groups to report and they will be led by the science.

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