Fully vaccinated US, EU visitors can visit England without quarantining
LONDON - Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and much of Europe will soon be able to visit England without having to quarantine.
The British government made the announcement on Wednesday, which will go into effect on Aug. 2. People who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the European Medicines Agency can take pre- and post-arrival COVID-19 tests instead of self-isolating for 10 days.
Currently, only people who have been vaccinated in Britain can skip 10 days of quarantine when arriving from most of Europe or North America.
France is the exception to the new rule, which Britain has dubbed a higher risk because of the presence of the beta variant of the coronavirus. Visitors from the country will continue to face a British quarantine.
The new rule also only applies to England, serving as a boost to the country’s ailing travel industry. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will decide whether to follow suit.
FILE - A British Airways Airbus A319 is pictured at the apron at London Heathrow Airport in west London, on May 10, 2020. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
"We're helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK," U.K. Transport Minister Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter.
"We're also able to confirm the restart of international cruises and flexible testing programmes to help key workers and drive our economic recovery," Shapps said in a follow-up tweet.
In the U.S., the Biden administration announced this week that the country will keep existing COVID-19 restrictions on international travel in place for now due to concerns about the surging infection rate because of the delta variant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also advised Americans against travel to the U.K.
Most of continental Europe has relaxed restrictions on Americans who are fully vaccinated. However, airlines say that the lack of two-way travel is limiting the number of flights they can offer and seats they can sell.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.