Hopes of senior officials reaching an agreement on a quarantine free travel corridor between the United States and the United Kingdom looked increasingly uncertain on Monday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 travel guidance and advised travelers to avoid all travel to the UK.
The CDC slapped the UK with a Level 4 advisory which is the highest available and which warns travelers of a very high level of COVID-19. Only fully vaccinated Americans should travel to the UK if absolutely necessary and even then they are warned that they are at increased risk of catching COVID-19.
The US State Department followed the lead of the CDC several hours later by issuing its own Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory. The State Department previously advised American citizens to ‘reconsider travel’ to the UK citing the risk of COVID-19.
Non-US citizens and residents are currently banned from traveling to the United States within 14-days of having spent any time in the UK under a Presidential proclamation first signed by Donald Trump in March 2020. The proclamation was extended when Joe Biden took office in January.
The two sides agreed to form a task force last month that would explore ways to restart travel between the two countries but there has been no sign of progress despite repeated calls from the travel industry to safely restart international flights.
The UK currently has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the world which is being driven by the dominant Delta variant. The same variant has already taken hold in mainland Europe and it is now threatening the United States which has a lower vaccination rate than the UK.
Experts believe infection rates in the UK could surge even further as Prime Minister lifted nearly all COVID-19 restrictions in England on Monday. Some scientists believe yet another variant may emerge in the UK just like the Alpha variant was first discovered in England.
Last week, Biden hinted that a seperate task force looking that easing travel restrictions with Europe might report back within days but the administration hasn’t given any indication when the travel ban might actually be lifted.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.