Travel bosses on both sides of the Atlantic are urging Joe Biden and Boris Johnson to lift their ‘over-cautious’ ban on open travel between the UK and US at the G7 next week.
Since March 2020, travel between the two countries has been largely banned.
Americans can now go to the UK, but they must quarantine for 10 days on arrival and undergo multiple negative COVID tests – for more than $200 – even if they have been vaccinated.
Britons cannot enter the US unless they have special circumstances that exempt them from the ban.
The on-going ban is being labeled as “stuck in time” and “outdated”, given that both countries have now vaccinated 41 percent of their populations.
COVID cases in the UK are on the rise, but the number of people being hospitalized with the virus is not and Boris Johnson has said there is no reason why the Freedom Day scheduled for June 21 cannot go ahead.
On Monday, the bosses of British airlines BA and Virgin joined executives at London’s Heathrow Airport at a press conference to urge Biden and Boris to lift the ban.
Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said travelers should be able to enter the UK from the US without having to go into quarantine.
Travel bosses on both sides of the Atlantic urge Joe Biden and Boris Johnson to lift their ‘too cautious’ ban on open travel between the UK and US at the G7 next week
41 percent of Britain is now vaccinated and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country is on track to fully reopen on June 21
About 41 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated and half have had their first dose
There is no reason for the US to be absent from the UK green list. This overly cautious approach is not reaping the benefits of the successful vaccination programs in both the UK and the US.’
“Although transatlantic connections to the US are limited, it costs the UK economy £23 million a day. We urge Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden to lead the way in opening heaven, making it a top priority at the G7 summit.
“Customers, families and businesses need to be able to book and travel with confidence. After 15 months of restrictions, it is now time to intervene.’
Sean Doyle, chairman and chief executive of British Airways, called on the men to “look at the science and base their judgment on a good risk analysis”.
He said: ‘In the UK, this means making the traffic light system fit for purpose, including moving towards restriction-free travel for vaccinated travellers, and getting rid of the complexity around amber-listed countries, eliminating quarantine and reducing of the number of tests passengers must undergo. obliged to take.’
People from any other country can fly to the US as long as they have a valid visa and a negative COVID-19 test, and Americans can also enter the US from anywhere in the world as long as they also test negative. That includes travel from countries like some in Africa, where vaccine rollouts are barely off the ground, and Nepal, where a terrifying new variant has been discovered.
Ministers are not adding countries to the so-called ‘green list’, we hope places such as Malta, Jamaica and Grenada can be added to the roster thanks to the easing of coronavirus tariffs
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said: “Connectivity between the UK and the US is one of the great engines of the global economy.
“The scientific evidence shows that transatlantic travel and trade can be safely reopened, and every day of delays in policymakers puts the jobs, livelihoods and economic opportunities of hard-working people in our countries at risk unnecessarily.
“We can’t stay locked up forever.”
Their calls echo those of US travel bosses who have been begging Biden for months to lift the ban.
Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior C. Stewart Verdery Jr. is one of those who says the ongoing ban is not just data detached, but is damaging to the US economic recovery from COVID. Verry Jr. worked at Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005. He was one of the officials who devised new travel rules to adapt to the post-9/11 world.
In an interview with DailyMail.com on Thursday, he described how Biden’s policy is outdated and why the reasons for apologizing earlier no longer hold up.
“I accept that they inherited a difficult situation. They inherited the policies that were in place, but haven’t looked at it again in light of the fact that those countries have been leaders in vaccines.
BA CEO Sean Doyle, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye and Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss appeared at a news conference Monday to call for the ban to be lifted
“Especially among the traveling public – the chance that the average person who goes to travel will be vaccinated is 90 percent. On top of that, you have the inspection requirement.
“You have this strange situation where you can fly into the US from half the world, regardless of their circumstances or the vaccine rollout, then they don’t take into account the other half of the world that is doing well. It’s like they’re stuck in time.’
The ban was first introduced by Trump last March, at the very beginning of the crisis.
Shortly before stepping down, Trump announced he was lifting the ban. Biden reinstated it within a day or two of taking office.
Verdery said he pushed himself into a corner that the administration is now struggling to get out of.
“When they repealed Trump to undo it, they put themselves in a box. And unless there was a bulletproof plan that all doctors and counselors agreed on, they wouldn’t go through with it.
“They pushed themselves into a corner. I thought that corner would last a month or two, but not five,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be hopeful that Biden will reopen the border this summer and that they can discuss a travel corridor between the UK and the US at the G7 from June 11 to June 13.
The White House is blocking journalists who ask about it and behind the scenes experts say the Biden administration is hesitating to allow travel from any of the banned countries without allowing it to resume from all countries, including India – where COVID-19 is expanding from control.
‘The government tries to solve the whole problem, all challenges at once, and recognizes variants as a problem.
“Instead of starting with what they can, it seems like they want to overcome the whole issue and we think that from an economic standpoint that will continue to hurt the US economy.
“We know science is telling us we can safely reopen with the UK. The process is progressing and there are ongoing talks, but they’re just not there yet.
“We intend to urge them that we can’t wait any longer,” Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy at the US Travel Association, told DailyMail.com.
Verdery said the plan is flawed and the administration needs to move from country to country.
‘We should make a country-by-country analysis in the field of health, just as we do in the field of immigration and terrorism. I was with Homeland Security after 9/11… we had to rebuild all our policies and look for the needle in a haystack – it took a while, but our work with the British was at the forefront.
“There is no reason to hold the British travel corridor hostage to facts on the ground in India.
“And this isn’t irreversible — if a country falls back, it can be changed again.”