England reopens its doors to Europe and the United States.
“There will still be obstacles on the way, but I think you will see a history of steady economic recovery and perhaps also a fairly rapid economic recovery.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said England was taking “another important step forward” to reopen international travel following pandemic-induced closures.
“Whether it is a family meeting for the first time since the onset of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade, this is progress that we can all enjoy,” Shapps said.
“Of course, we will continue to be guided by the latest scientific data, but thanks to our world-leading national vaccination program, we can look to the future and begin to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US, while further consolidating ties. with our European Neighbors ”, he said.
But he warned of long lines at British airports and said that no one traveling north this summer should expect it to be normal.
More electronic gates will be updated at England’s main airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, over the next few months to allow them to process health checks.
CBI’s Tom Thackray, who represents businesses and has offices in London, Washington and Brussels, said the long-awaited reopening would provide a significant boost to the troubled travel industry.
“The task now is to implement these changes as quickly and easily as possible, which should include an efficient system before the trip to assess the COVID status of passengers to avoid congestion at airports,” he said.
John Holland Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, has criticized the British government for allowing Britain to lag behind its EU rivals by being too slow to reopen.
“We will now work with industry colleagues to boost UK trade, bring family and friends together and generate billions in new tourism revenue,” he said in a short one-line statement issued after the announcement.
Heathrow has suffered 2.9 billion pounds ($ 5.5 billion) in losses since the onset of the pandemic, which brought most international travel to a standstill. In the first six months of 2021, less than 4 million people traveled through the airport, the equivalent of 18 days of passenger movements in 2019.
Britain has been fueled by a dramatic but inexplicable drop in infections. Cases have more than halved since their post-euro peak, when infections surpassed 60,000 in a single day to around 27,000 on Wednesday, but the 7-day trend slowed further to 38% compared to The last week.
However, in a blow to Brits wishing to travel to the US, the Biden Administration will not reciprocate to the measure and will keep its borders closed to the UK, despite the Delta strain now prevalent in the United States as well. United.
In addition to the complications, the FDA has not approved the British-made Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the US.
Former President Donald Trump first imposed a travel ban on Britain and Europe at the start of the pandemic and has continued in light of the Delta strain, which has been dominant in the UK for several months.
But the strain has now taken hold in the US as well, particularly in states with lower vaccination rates, prompting the CDC to revise its mask rules and recommend them indoors even for those who are fully vaccinated. .
All travelers arriving in England are still required to test negative up to three days before departure and within two days of arrival in the country, regardless of their vaccination status.
The country still maintains a red list in which travelers from countries have to enter hotel quarantine on their own.
The British have been free to travel abroad for essential travel during the pandemic, although leisure travel was briefly restricted for several months in early 2021.
The opposition has attacked the Boris Johnson government for failing to sufficiently restrict international travel, particularly from India during its second wave of infections, calling the fast-spreading Delta variant the “Johnson variant.”
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