Biden issued stark warning: Refusal to budge on UK travel ban risks damaging relations
Coronavirus vaccine: First dose figures surpass 46 million
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This is despite the UK and EU opening up to fully vaccinated travellers from across the pond last month. In a snub at pleas from EU and UK ministers, the White House said the US would retain all existing travel restrictions.
Under US law, British nationals cannot enter the US if they have been in the UK, Ireland or the EU Schengen Area within the previous 14 days.
Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s ambassador to the US claimed that banning fully vaccinated Europeans from entering America was “damaging to EU-US relations in so many ways”.
He said that there are “many Irish people” who are “unable to visit family, despite being fully vaccinated”.
Mr Mulhall continued: “I feel for them, separated from loved ones for up to two years now.”
Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU ambassador to the US, added on Twitter: “70 percent of EU adults are now fully vaccinated.
“The US can safely let vaccinated Europeans in (with existing pre-flight testing), as the EU lets in vaccinated Americans.”
Democratic Senator Brendan Boyle also ramped up the pressure on the Biden administration to review travel restrictions with Europe.
He added: “The blanket ban on EU citizens coming to the U.S. makes no sense, especially given many EU countries have higher COVID-19 vaccination rates and far fewer COVID-19 cases.
“As long as those wanting to come to the US test negative for COVID-19 and are vaccinated, they should be allowed in.”
Meanwhile, the UK Government said opening up of US borders would be a “boost to the aviation and tourism sectors.”
A Whitehall source added they were “regularly engaging” with US counterparts in Washington.
But they stressed: “It doesn’t look like there will be agreement anytime soon which isn’t ideal especially when we’ve opened to them.”
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It is understood Washington is keen to keep the borders shut rise in cases of the Delta variant, first identified in India.
The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has described the Delta variant of COVID-19 to be as contagious as chickenpox and could cause severe illness.
In a recent summary report, the CDC also said the Delta variant was likely more severe than other variants and breakthrough infections may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases.
The report also cites studies from Canada, Singapore and Scotland showing that the Delta variant may pose a greater risk for hospitalisation, intensive care treatment and death than the Alpha variant, first detected in the United Kingdom.
The US health authority also advised against travel by American’s to the United Kingdom despite fully vaccinated US and EU visitors being exempted from self-isolation if they arrive into the UK from Monday, August 2.
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