US travel ban: Biden ‘wishing’ to accept fully-vaccinated UK visitors in a matter of weeks

Boris Johnson says ‘we have a balanced policy’ on travel

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President Biden is working on a plan to allow travellers who have been fully-jabbed into the country. Although White House officials said the plan won’t take place immediately, it possibly will in the very near future.

Currently, travellers who have been in UK or any EU country within the last 14 days, are banned from entering the US.

The US imposed strict travel restrictions in May 2020 which haven’t been eased since then.

The Biden Government has cited rising COVID-19 cases as the reason for not lifting restrictions.

Now, White House officials have said President Biden wants to re-open travel to UK and EU fully-jabbed visitors.

Rising COVID-19 infection rates in the UK are still a concern for President Biden.

However, officials told Reuters they are working “to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel.”

They explained foreign nationals travelling to the US will need to be fully vaccinated.

The plan includes “a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals travelling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated.”

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However, they warned it will take at least weeks before restrictions are officially lifted.

The US Government will have to clarify what proof of vaccination will be accepted and whether they will accept vaccines that some countries are using but are not authorized by U.S. regulators.

Managing director for Flight Centre Corporate, Steve Norris, urged the UK to keep working closely with the US to speed up the process.

“Like all businesses throughout the travel industry, we eagerly await further news regarding travel to the US and welcome the announcement that President Biden wishes to accept fully vaccinated travellers when international arrivals are accepted.

“We implore the prime minister and transport secretary Shapps to work with their US counterparts to ensure a speedy return to transatlantic travel, which represents our most popular destination for international business travel.”

Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, announced last week fully-vaccinated US travellers could skip quarantine from August 2.

According to executive vice-president of global airline relations for Internova, Peter Vlitas, the move not being reciprocal “makes no sense whatsoever.”

Other travel industry officials urged the US administration to at least provide a specific timeline.

“While the UK and the EU are making thoughtful decisions about travel, the Biden administration must at least provide a timeline for the withdrawal of the presidential proclamation – 212F – that prevents Europeans from entering the US,” said Andrew Crawley, Amex GBT chief commercial officer.

“A science-based and data-driven approach can empower Governments to ease travel restrictions whilst prioritising public health.

“The US has banned travel from the UK and Europe for more than 500 days.

“Every day 212F remains in place is another day that families remain separated, vital trade routes remain severed and jobs are put at risk.”

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