Joe Biden will be easing travel restrictions in the US for Britons with double punches from November, it was claimed today.
Boris Johnson has asked the president to relax the strict rules, and the issue was to be discussed at a meeting at the White House tomorrow.
Britain dropped restrictions on fully vaccinated US visitors in July as a “goodwill gesture”.
But to the concern of ministers – and anger of the travel industry – the US has not yet responded.
According to the Financial Times, Biden will soon unveil a new policy that will apply to EU and UK travelers from November.
UK government sources told MailOnline they expect an announcement at a later date and ‘it looks positive’.
Mr Johnson arrived at New York’s JFK airport last night ahead of a meeting with the president
Mr Johnson and President Biden set up a special working group in June to further develop the issue, following discussions at the G7 summit in Cornwall.
But while British officials insisted it still met weekly, progress seemed to have stalled.
Currently, travelers from the UK cannot visit the US without special permission from the United States Government.
The ban prevented tennis star Emma Radacanu’s family from traveling to New York this month to watch her spectacular victory in the US Open final.
What are the new travel rules from October 4 and how do they relate to the current traffic light system?
Effective October 4, the government’s traffic light system will be replaced by a simplified two-tier ‘go/no-go’ scheme.
There will be a ‘red list’ of banned countries and a ‘rest of the world’ list for everywhere else.
Traveling to and from countries on the ‘rest of the world’ list will be easier, but there will be different rules depending on vaccination status.
This is how the new system works:
Travel from the ‘rest of the world’ if you are fully vaccinated
Travelers must book and pay for a coronavirus test on day two after arriving in England.
They are not required to take a pre-departure test before returning to the country or taking a day 8 test. There is no quarantine requirement – assuming the test is negative on day two.
Travel from the ‘rest of the world’ if you are not fully vaccinated
Travelers are required to take a coronavirus test prior to departure before returning to England.
They must also book and pay for a day two and day eight test.
After arriving in England, they must be quarantined at home for 10 days.
Traveling from red list countries
Normal travel from these countries remains prohibited and only UK nationals can return from them.
Travelers must pass a pre-departure test. They must also book and pay for a government-sponsored quarantine hotel package.
The stay in hotel quarantine costs more than £2,000 and includes two tests.
The rules of the ‘red list’ apply regardless of vaccination status.
WHAT IS THERE CURRENTLY?
RED: Traveling to the UK from a Red List country is prohibited for non-UK nationals. Britons returning to the UK will be required to take a pre-departure test and book a 10-day stay in hotel quarantine, which includes tests for £1,750. Countries include: Brazil, Turkey, Bangladesh and South Africa.
AMBER: A pre-departure test is required before going to the UK, while unvaccinated people are required to quarantine at home for ten days and book tests on day two and day 8. They can also pay for a day 5 test under the ‘test to release’ schedule. The fully vaccinated do not need to isolate themselves, but do need to book a day 2 test. Countries include: Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
GREEN WAITING LIST: This is a category for countries that are at risk of losing their green status (see below). Countries include: Barbados, Croatia and Israel.
VEGETABLE: Returning travelers must take a pre-departure test and also book a day two test. Quarantine is not mandatory for anyone unless the test is positive. Countries include: Bulgaria, Canada , Iceland and Malta.
It has also robbed the beleaguered airline industry of one of its most important and lucrative markets.
The US said it continued to ban travel from the UK on Covid grounds.
But Mr Johnson has argued that the effectiveness of the UK’s vaccination program means there is no justification for maintaining restrictions on travelers who are fully jaded.
Sean Doyle, the chief of British Airways, told the Daily Mail last night: “The Prime Minister is doing something this week that is out of reach for most Britons – a visit to the US.
“We need the Prime Minister to urgently call for the reopening of the transatlantic corridor during his meeting with President Biden and to put the Atlantic Charter they discussed at the G7 in June at the top of the agenda.
“For 18 long months, friends and family have been separated and the UK economy has suffered.
“Aviation must be able to play a role in kick-starting the UK economy, revitalizing business and tourism and restoring the vital ties we have with the US.”
The UK’s move to reopen travel corridors came despite a SAGE scientist who warned ministers risk importing dangerous new Covid variants by simultaneously ‘abolishing’ the testing system.
Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the subcommittee on behavior advice, said officials could have improved the system that charged ‘absurd rates’ for PCR testing by conducting such testing through the NHS.
The traffic light system will be replaced with a single ‘red list’ of destinations from Oct. 4, and those who have been fully double-sticked will not be required to take a pre-departure test before returning from non-red list destinations.
From the end of October, they can also replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test.
Speaking to Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday’s program, Prof Reicher said the system around PCR testing has been “dysfunctional” with “all the different companies charging absurd rates and not providing any service.”
He said the government has responded “not by improving the system, but by abandoning it completely,” adding that domestically “huge uncertainty” remains about the effect of the return of virus cases on virus cases. schools, universities, workplaces and people spend more time indoors in the fall weather.
While traveling he told Sky News: ‘I think it would have been much better to keep PCR tests but to improve the system and do them through the NHS.
“I think it (the easing) is an increasing risk. I think it is a limitation, in fact it stops our ability to detect different variants and increases the chances of infected people entering the country.
“I honestly think it increased the risk and I think we should have improved the system rather than abandon it for the most part.”
Lawrence Young, a professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, said: “If we slacken our vigilance, there is a risk that a new variant will enter the country, such as the Mu variant first identified in Colombia, which is the effectiveness of current vaccines. .’
Another scientist said that while easing the rules will “inevitably increase the risk of infections”, high rates in the UK mean travelers are just as likely to get Covid while traveling to Torquay as they are to Turkey.
dr. Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: ‘Given that community transmission in the UK is still at a high level, it seems impolite to erect high barriers in the way of international traveling when the risks of contracting Covid at home are relatively high.’
Under the revised travel system for England, unvaccinated passengers from countries not on the red list are required to take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on days two and eight after return.
However, travelers with a valid vaccination certificate from 17 other countries and territories, including Japan and Singapore, will be treated as if they had been stung in the UK.
Eight countries, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives, will be removed from the red list from 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
Ministers announced today that they are replacing the current international traffic light scheme for travel with a simplified ‘go and no-go’ system, as they have also scrapped pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travelers returning to England
Travelers from Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will no longer have to be in hotel quarantine from that date.
The commotion will only apply to England, with Scotland saying it will drop the traffic light system but England won’t follow when it comes to testing requirements and PCR testing will still be required.
The Welsh government said it will consider the UK government’s proposed changes, but Health Secretary Eluned Morgan has warned they could “weaken the line of defense against importing infections”.
In Northern Ireland, the traffic light system will change from October 4, with a single ‘red list’ of destinations, while proposed changes to pre-departure and post-arrival tests will be discussed by Stormont ministers next week.