The government’s next update to the traffic light travel restrictions is likely to take place on Thursday (16 September).

And the most recent government briefings indicate that the current system restricting travel to the UK is likely to be dismantled soon.

The UK has by far the highest infection rates for any major country in Europe, yet it also imposes the strictest rules on arrivals.

A total of 62 nations and territories are on the UK”s “red list,” representing a total population of well over one billion people.

Appearing on the red list is effectively a travel ban, with arrivals from those countries required to go into 11 nights of hotel quarantine once in the UK – at a cost, for a solo traveller, of £2,285.

So which countries might leave the club – and which nations should join?

Tim White, the Covid data analyst who tweets as @TWMCLtd, has trawled through the genomic sequencing records held by Gisaid, the worldwide database, with a focus on variants of concern.

He will be on hand to answer all your latest travel questions around the upcoming announcement and what might happen to the traffic light system in coming weeks during a live ‘ask me anything’ event being held on this page today (14 September).

Join Tim at 4pm today, 14 September, when he’ll be on hand to answer your travel questions about all the latest rules and restrictions live.

Register to submit your question in the Comments below. If you’re not already a member, click “sign up” in the Comments box to leave your question.

Don’t worry if you can’t see your question – they will be hidden until Tim joins the conversation to answer them.

Then join us live on this page from 4-5pm as he tackles as many as he can within an hour.

A tangled web of Covid-19 border restrictions has limited who can travel to the US. One of the rules bars migrants from seeking asylum. Others have effectively halted tourism from abroad. And restrictions on cross-border travel have been renewed monthly, with the next deadline fast approaching on Saturday.

“I would say the pleasantries for taking the time to meet with us have gone out the window and we go right to the meat of the question. After one and a half years, we get right to it. We want an explanation why,” said Peter Vlitas, executive vice president of global supplier relations at Internova Travel Group.

Administration officials are still weighing next steps and whether nonessential restrictions, as well as other limits on travel, can be eased at all amid concerns about the Delta variant, though the White House has indicated it’s not likely anytime soon.

White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said agency working groups are looking at how to reopen the borders. “The interagency working groups are currently developing a policy process, and we will be ready when it is the right time to consider reopening travel. And that’ll be guided, as always, by the science and the public health,” Zients said earlier this month. American officials have also partnered with representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico to discuss reopening.
CNN previously reported that the administration was developing a plan to mandate vaccinations for almost all foreign visitors to the US, though a final plan had not been determined.

Canada, meanwhile, did just that. Fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents currently residing in the US are allowed into Canada as of last week, but vaccinated Canadians can’t cross the land border with the US if not for an essential purpose.

Marco Mendicino, Canada’s minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, told CNN the country is respecting the US decision-making process and timing of its decisions. “In the meantime, what we’ll do is keep the line of communication open,” he said.

But Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins, who represents New York communities along the northern border like Niagara and Buffalo, argued that the public health guidance and limits on the US land borders are inconsistent.

Canada announces vaccine mandate for air travel

“There’s not only inconsistencies but there’s direct conflict with what we’re told to do by government and public health officials and the policy on the Canadian border,” Higgins, said.

Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States have been growing, though vaccination rates in the US have increased over recent weeks, a trend that experts say needs to continue to curb the current surge of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has called it “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Still, more of Europe opened up this summer to US leisure travelers, especially the fully vaccinated, adding to the frustration of those in the travel industry, who argue the US needs to reciprocate or at least adjust to the current landscape.

“We’ve been frozen in

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transcript

White House to Continue Travel Bans Due to Delta Variant

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the administration would maintain existing restrictions on entry to the United States for Europeans and others, citing concerns over the spread of the Delta variant.

We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons: The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and around the world, driven by the Delta variant cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead. The C.D.C. just advised Americans against travel to the United Kingdom this past Monday given the surge in cases. They will evaluate and make recommendations based on health data. But I don’t have a timeline to predict for you because it’s all about what success we have at getting more people vaccinated, getting more vaccines out to the world and fighting the virus.

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Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the administration would maintain existing restrictions on entry to the United States for Europeans and others, citing concerns over the spread of the Delta variant.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

The Biden administration will continue to restrict the entry of Europeans and others into the United States, citing concerns that infected travelers may contribute to further spread of the contagious Delta variant across the country, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Monday afternoon.

Concern about the variant had convinced officials not to lift the current travel restrictions on foreigners, Ms. Psaki said, some of which had been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. Vaccines remain effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19, including from the Delta variant.

“The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and around the world,” she told reporters, adding that cases are rising in the United States, particularly among the unvaccinated.

The decision is a blow to the travel industry, which hoped that a lifting of the travel bans could increase tourism for the remaining summer months, helping hotels, airlines and other businesses that have been struggling.

But Ms. Psaki said that it was unclear when the United States would remove the bans completely.

“I don’t have a timeline to predict for you because it’s all about what success we have at getting more people vaccinated, getting more vaccines out to the world and fighting the virus,” she said.

The United States began restricting travel from foreigners in January 2020, when former President Donald J. Trump restricted some travel from China in the hopes of preventing the spread of the virus. That effort largely failed.

But health officials pressed the Trump administration to expand travel bans to much of Europe during the first surge of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, and more countries have been added to the ban as the original virus and several variants have spread rapidly

In 1966 the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. highlighted the link between economic security and racial equality. By making a crucial distinction between mere jobs — often seasonal, temporary, or cyclical — and the economic security necessary to participate in American society as equals, King drew attention to the relative inferiority of opportunities generally available to Black workers at the time.

More than a generation later, Black Americans still face stubborn gaps between their economic position and that of white people. We estimate a $220 billion annual wage disparity with Black workers currently concentrated in lower-wage jobs, underrepresented in higher-paying occupations, and paid less, on average, than white workers in the same occupational categories, especially in managerial and leadership roles.

And it’s not just the labor market. In our latest research, “The Economic State of Black America: What Is and What Could Be,” we find critical gaps Black Americans face not only as workers but as business owners, savers and investors, consumers, and residents that prevent full participation in the U.S. economy and significantly limit economic mobility.

Yet while the gaps are substantial, our research leaves us with the strong conviction that they can be closed, unlocking a wave of growth, dynamism, and productivity. Two initiatives could make a big difference: unblocking pipelines into higher-paying professions and creating pathways to better careers from lower-paying occupations.

We find that a surprisingly small number of occupations — about 20 in all, representing less than 4% of all occupations — account for more than 60% of the aggregate wage gap. They fall into five broad categories: managers of frontline workers, other managers and executives, professions (such as law and medicine) that require postgraduate training, professions (such as teaching and accounting) that require undergraduate degrees and accreditation, and technology specialists (such as software developers and computer and information systems managers). What’s more, just five sectors — professional services, manufacturing, construction, trade/transportation/utilities, and financial services — account for almost 85% of the gap.

We analyzed pipelines into three professions that have traditionally been important cornerstones of upward mobility — law, teaching, and medicine — and found multiple obstacles along the way. (Previous McKinsey analysis has examined pipelines into managerial and executive ranks.)

Looking at the pipeline for lawyers, we see that it narrows at every stage, with the largest declines between applying to law school and enrolling in it. More work needs to be done to discover why the pipeline narrows so much at this point. But we estimate that if the share of Black Americans working as lawyers were the same as the share of Black individuals in the overall population, the country would have 110,000 more Black lawyers. And if the attrition rates for Black students and candidates at each stage could be lowered to match those of their white peers, thousands more Black lawyers would enter the profession each year.

The pipeline for teachers is particularly important. Studies have shown that Black representation in the teaching profession improves


USCG Sector Juneau Commander Capt. Stephen White stands before a Coast Guard mural in the lobby of the Federal Building. White is retiring after 31 years of service. (Klas Stolpe / KINY)

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – For 31 years United States Coast Guard Sector Juneau Commander Capt. Stephen R. White has been involved in keeping our waters and those who travel on them or live near them safe.

  White will retire in a Change of Command Ceremony, being honored along with incoming commander Capt. Darwin A. Jensen, at the Station Juneau dock on July 7, at 12:30 p.m.

  “Yeah, it’s it’s been pretty crazy,” White said of the flurry of activity in the days leading up to his departure. “We were just down to Ketchikan talking to a lot of the partners and Coast Guard units down there and state and federal partners and the ferry system, but it’s kind of nostalgic after spending a lot of time up here in Alaska to be kind of reaching the end here.”

  White and his family will stay in Juneau.

  “My love for Alaska has not changed,” he said. “And we’re dropping anchor right here in Juneau. I’m going to go to work over at the marine exchange of Alaska, probably sometime in September.”

  White said he came from the great maritime state of Idaho.

  “That’s where I was raised and went from there to the University of Utah for a couple of years,” he said. “Somebody there told me about the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. I didn’t even really know a lot about the Coast Guard and ended up going out there. I was really interested in playing football out there. Man I just developed a passion and a love for what the Coast Guard does, especially for doing it on the sea being on ships. And my first tour out Academy was Kodiak, Alaska, and that really set me for operating in this beautiful environment that challenges in all kinds of ways.”

   White’s replacement is also from Idaho.

  “In fact, we were just a couple towns over from each other,” White said. “Alaska is divided up into two sectors, sector Juneau, which covers between Cordova and Yakutat south to the Canadian border, and then sector Anchorage, which kind of covers Western Alaska and Gulf Alaska north. Sector Anchorage commander is Capt. Leanne Lusk. She also is from Idaho. So we kind of have a little Idaho invasion going here.”

  White graduated from the USCG Academy in 1994 with a Bachelors of Science in Management.

  He first arrived in Alaska in 1996, serving on the buoy tender, USCGC FIREBUSH, patrolling around Kodiak and out west out to the Aleutians.

  “We spent a lot of time in False Pass keeping that crazy waterway open and setting the buoys in there,” White said. “Just the ruggedness in the wilderness of Alaska really awed me and and I did things and saw things I just never could even imagine. It’s even hard to

Champlin's Resort and Marina features 46 spiffed-up guestrooms with water or island views.
Champlin’s Resort and Marina features 46 spiffed-up guestrooms with water or island views.Seas Mtns Co

BLOCK ISLAND MARINA MAKEOVER

Those planning a visit to Block Island this summer may want to consider Champlin’s Marina and Resort, a newly renovated 9-acre property that aims to be a fresh destination for all — couples, families, and even solo travelers. Champlin’s Marina features 46 spiffed-up guestrooms with water or island views; a full-service marina with 120 fixed slips; waterfront pool; private beach; spacious dog park; watersport, bicycle and moped rentals; firepits; and multiple dining options including full-service restaurant, double deck bar and ice cream parlor. In addition, the property hosts a range of events, from fishing tournaments and regattas to live music evenings and private parties of varying sizes. Rates from $189. 401-466-7777, champlinsresort.com

THERE:

ZEN-LIKE RETREAT OPENS IN ADRIATIC

Relaxation and renewal top the list of guest benefits at the newly debuted Maslina Resort in Hvar, Croatia, a country whose borders are once again open to those holding a US passport. This seaside boutique resort’s non-intrusive architecture blends into untouched Mediterranean nature, with 33 rooms, 17 suites, and three villas offering views of the Adriatic Sea, olive groves, and terraced vineyards. Amenities and services include a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant; bar with signature cocktails and local wines; sommelier-crafted tastings and winery visits; private beach; two heated pools; children’s play space; and spa with fitness room, hair salon, and wellness offerings such as sound healing therapy, meditation, yoga, and a garden-to-skin spa menu designed to alleviate some of the stress accumulated in the past year. High season (June-September) rates from $508. www.maslinaresort.com

MAJESTIC RAIL ROUTE DEBUTS

Calling all train aficionados! The Rocky Mountaineer, a company offering multiday, daytime journeys in spacious, glass-domed train coaches, is expanding with a new route in the Southwest United States this summer. The Rockies to the Red Rocks route will be a two-day luxury rail journey between Denver and Moab with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs. The launch includes 40 departures across 10 weeks from Aug. 15 to Oct. 23. In addition, the company is working with local tourism organizations, hotels, and tour operators to curate custom packages with tours, activities, and stays in Denver, Glenwood Springs, and Moab, so travelers can experience even more of the region. This new route compliments three current routes in Western Canada, between Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies towns of Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. Rates from $1,250 includes one-night hotel accommodation. 877-460-3200, www.rockymountaineer.com/train-routes/rockies-red-rocks

Baby Delight, a product design company for all-things-baby, offers a “Go With Me” line of portable high chairs.
Baby Delight, a product design company for all-things-baby, offers a “Go With Me” line of portable high chairs.Handout

EVERYWHERE:

LIGHTWEIGHT PACKABLE HIGH CHAIR

Traveling with a baby or toddler can be challenging, especially when your destination isn’t equipped with everyday necessities. To make vacationing with your little one easier, Baby Delight, a product design company for all-things-baby, offers a “Go With Me” line of portable high chairs. The popular Uplift Deluxe model is standard table height, made of durable indoor/outdoor fabric that can be wiped clean, and

U.S. President Joe Biden leaves after speaking about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and the vaccination program from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

High unemployment. Rising prices. Gas lines.

They’re a bad memory for Americans old enough to remember the 1970s – but they’re also likely causing a few sleepless nights in the White House, as the United States’ economic recovery from the unprecedented coronavirus recession hits some bumps.

The jolts are dampening consumer confidence, ramping up inflation fears, and helping Republicans build their case against President Joe Biden and his ambitious plans to revamp the U.S. economy with trillions in new spending.

As the 1970s show, high joblessness and rising prices the United States saw in April can be a potent political force.

Republicans crafted a “misery index” out of the two factors to attack then-president Jimmy Carter. After hitting 75% approval ratings early in his presidency, the Democrat was trounced in a 1980 landslide.

Support for Biden remains strong and U.S. equity markets remain near record highs.

The White House says there’s bound to be surprises as the United States emerges from an unprecedented pandemic.

“We must keep in mind that an economy will not heal instantaneously,” Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers told reporters Friday. “It takes several weeks for people to get full immunity from vaccinations, and even more time for those left jobless from the pandemic to find and start a suitable job.”

Rouse, speaking to reporters at the White House, said a mismatch between supply and demand due to the pandemic and the economic snap-back had pushed inflation higher but that the mismatch should prove temporary.

“I fully expect that will work itself out in the coming months,” she said.

The Federal Reserve also is betting heavily inflation will cool on its own, even as hiring picks up steam over the summer, Americans start to travel again, and the Fed keeps its massive crisis levels of support intact.

The White House wouldn’t offer a timeline for when the economy will smooth out. But it doesn’t expect a repeat of April’s weak jobs report, and recent data show applicants for unemployment benefits fell to a 14-month low.

“The trend lines continue to be positive,” a senior White House official told Reuters on Wednesday. The White House also believes the Fed can handle what comes up, he said.

“We haven’t seen anything that is suggested that the Fed doesn’t have an ample toolkit to manage any of the risks that might present themselves.”

ROUGH WATERS AHEAD

Still, there’s more turmoil in months to come.

Republicans, divided by former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, have seized the moment to knock the foundation of Biden’s economic plans – raising taxes on the wealthy and companies.

“You won’t find any Republicans who are gonna go raise taxes. I think that’s the worst thing you

The head of the U.S. Travel Association, which has for months been pushing the Biden administration to move more quickly to reopen international travel, said Thursday that the group has held some productive meetings and hopes to have an agreement by July.

Roger Dow, CEO of U.S. Travel, said during a virtual press conference that the group and leading travel CEOs have met recently with Jeff Zients, who heads the White House’s Covid task force, as well as Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, who he said has been “extraordinarily helpful and engaged in this area.”

“So we’re beginning to get some traction, but it is such a high priority that it has to happen,” he said. ” Our hope is toward the end of this month to get an agreement to move forward and to get some announcement [of] what we’re asking for in July.”

In a letter this week to President Biden, the group and other travel leaders reiterated their call for the establishment of a public-private task force to develop a risk-based, data-driven road map for safely reopening international travel to the U.S.

They said reopening efforts should start by pursuing a “public health corridor” between the U.S. and the U.K.

“We think that once we get that corridor open, others will follow around Europe,” Dow said.

Tori Emerson Barnes, the group’s executive vice president for public affairs and public policy, said the group is also pushing to get Canada on the immediate reentry list.

COVID-19 vaccination record card issued by the Centers for Disease Control

Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

U.S. airlines and more than two dozen other industry groups on Monday urged the Biden administration to form a plan by May to lift international travel restrictions, including digital vaccine passport standards, after cross-border travel was devastated in the Covid pandemic.

Airlines for America, which represents major U.S. airlines like American, United, Southwest and others, sent a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response team coordinator, saying the guidelines should exempt vaccinated people from international testing rules.

Among other recommendations, the groups asked that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update its guidance to say that vaccinated people can safely travel, according to a copy of the letter viewed by CNBC.

“To be clear, at this time, we do not support removal or easing of core public health protections, such as the universal mask mandate, inbound international testing requirement, physical distancing or other measures that have made travel safer and reduced transmission of the virus,” said the letter, which was also signed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest flight attendant union and other industry groups. “However, the data and science demonstrate that the right public health measures are now in place to effectively mitigate risk and allow for the safe removal of entry restrictions.”

Most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in Europe, the U.K. and Brazil have been banned from entering the U.S. since last March, when then-President Donald Trump instituted the rules as Covid-19 was spreading around the world. In January, President Joe Biden extended the entry restrictions and added South Africa to the list because of a rise in infections and new, more contagious variants

The group also called on the White House to set standards for digital health documents that can show immigration officials proof of vaccinations or test results.

In the meantime, airlines and officials have been looking at ways to use digital vaccine or health passports to help spur travel and eventually replace travel restrictions. The European Union last week proposed a digital health certificate with a QR code that contains vaccine and Covid-19 test results.

Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastian last week told “NBC Nightly News” that he expects digital vaccine passports will be required for international travel.

The White House declined to comment and pointed to a recommendation against travel that CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky gave Monday.

“Now is not the time to travel,” she said at a news conference.

“We are worried not just for what happens when you are on the airplane itself, but what happens when people travel, that is they go out, they mix, they mix with people who are not vaccinated,” she said.

Major U.S. airlines and nearly 30 travel and labor groups are urging the Biden administration to develop temporary COVID-19 health credentials that would allow travelers to show digital proof of their coronavirus test results and vaccination status.

US airlines call for vaccine passports to help restart travel

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

Various technology companies and trade groups around the world have already launched digital COVID-19 passports, but travel industry leaders believe a standardized, government-backed credential is necessary to “accelerate safe economic activity and recovery.”

“The U.S. must be a leader in this development,” the groups wrote in a letter to COVID-19 Recovery Team Coordinator Jeff Zients on Monday. “The current diverse and fragmented digital health credentials used to implement different countries’ air travel testing requirements risk causing confusion, reducing compliance, and increasing fraud.”



Jeffrey Zients wearing a suit and tie: White House Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response Jeffrey Zients participates in a virtual listening session at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Feb. 10, 2021, in Washington, D.C.


© Alex Wong/Getty Images
White House Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response Jeffrey Zients participates in a virtual listening session at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Feb. 10, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Airlines for America (A4A) Executive Sharon Pinkerton told ABC News she believes a digital travel credential could result in an increase of fliers — something the airlines have been working toward for over a year since demand for air travel hit a record low in April.

“I do think there’s a pent-up demand to travel,” Pinkerton said. “We’re seeing people gain more and more confidence in flying, but also understanding the process and understanding that its simple to have a digital test certificate or digital vaccine certificate is going to help build confidence in the system.”



a group of people with luggage at an airport


© Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images


While A4A and the other travel groups don’t want vaccines mandated for travel, they hope a standardized digital health pass will allow travelers to avoid restrictive quarantine requirements.



a person in a blue shirt: A nurse administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic for Catholic school education workers including elementary school teachers and staff at a vaccination site at Loyola Marymount University, March 8, 2021, in Los Angeles.


© Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images
A nurse administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic for Catholic school education workers including elementary school teachers and staff at a vaccination site at Loyola Marymount University, March 8, 2021, in Los Angeles.

“I know the state of Hawaii is considering just that,” Pinkerton said. “If you’re able to show you have the test and the vaccine [they] are going to eliminate the quarantine and so we definitely think that is one of the main benefits of being able to have a digital health credential.”

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. government’s focus is “on getting more people vaccinated and we’ll think about how people can demonstrate they are vaccinated as we get more people vaccinated,” when asked about support for a standardized digital health passport on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that even those who’ve already been vaccinated should avoid traveling.

“In terms of travel, here’s what we know: Every time that there’s a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Monday. “We know that