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US to end Covid travel ban for UK and EU travellers

The US is set to lift its Covid-19 travel ban, admitting fully vaccinated people from the UK and most EU countries from early November.

The announcement has been called a ‘major milestone’ for the reopening of international travel. As well as the UK and EU, passengers from Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India will also now be able to enter the US.

The White House announced the easing of restrictions after intense lobbying from London and Brussels.

Prime minister Boris Johnson welcomed the move, tweeting: “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.”

When the restrictions are lifted, travellers will require proof of full vaccination before boarding a flight and a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure. They will not be required to quarantine upon arrival. Children not yet eligible to be vaccinated will be exempt from the new policy.

The new policy will be introduced in early November to allow time for airlines and travel partners to prepare for the new protocols.

Historic moment

The travel ban was first imposed by Donald Trump in the early stages of the pandemic, more than 18 months ago. Currently only US citizens and their immediate families, as well as green card holders and those with national interest exemptions can travel into the US if they have been in the UK or EU in the previous 14 days.

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said the announcement “marks a historic moment and one which will provide a huge boost to global Britain as it emerges from this pandemic”.

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, called the news “a major milestone to the reopening of travel at scale, allowing consumers and businesses to book travel to the US with confidence”.

Dame Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to Washington, said: “Today’s travel announcement is great news for families and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. We are grateful the US has recognised the progress the UK has made against Covid-19, including high vaccination rates and declining cases.

“This decision means that more Brits can reunite with loved ones in the United States, more British holidaymakers can spend their hard-earned pounds in the American tourism sector, and more business activity can boost both of our economies.”

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