With reports that President Biden was planning to make an announcement imminently on when the travel ban would be lifted for international travelers wishing to visit the U.S., recent news gives cause for concern.
Firstly, the CDC raised the Travel Advisory Level to the highest for the U.K. on 19 July–to a Level 4–suggesting to travelers that if travel were necessary to the U.K., they would be well advised to be fully vaccinated. The CDC added that “because of the current situation in the United Kingdom, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”
Secondly, whilst the U.K. relaxed all domestic restrictions against Covid-19 reducing the formal mandate for masks and the number of people at gatherings, it came the same week that the U.K. reported 316,691 new cases over the past seven days, which was an increase of 43% on the previous seven day period, as reported by CNBC.
Thirdly, the U.S. is also witnessing a rise in infection rates, particularly in states which have the lowest vaccination rates. The U.S. is currently recording an average 12 new daily cases per 100,000 people with the epicenter in Florida, which is currently recording 49.3 new cases per day per 100,000 and where only 43% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC said that “this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Many states across the U.S., including Miami, are reintroducing Covid-19 restrictions such as mask wearing and avoiding larger crowds.
U.S. travelers are currently able to travel to the EU and to the U.K. (with a ten-day quarantine and testing schedule for the latter, whether or not they are vaccinated).
American travelers did receive some welcome news, however, from Canada with the announcement that Canada will allow vaccinated Americans to visit from 9 August after a sixteen-month ban. Travelers from the rest of the world will be allowed from 7 September. Children traveling with vaccinated people won’t need to quarantine but must avoid group activities while visiting.
As reported by ABC News, Canada is in the lead out of the G20 countries in vaccination rates, with about 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose and over 50% fully vaccinated. Canadian officials had said in the past that they “would like 75% of eligible Canadian residents to be fully vaccinated before loosening border restrictions for tourists and business travelers.”