Joe Biden 'to ease US travel restrictions for double-jabbed Brits'

Joe Biden 'to ease US travel restrictions for double-jabbed Brits'
Joe Biden 'to ease US travel restrictions for double-jabbed Brits'

Joe Biden is set to ease US travel restrictions for double-jabbed Britons from November, it was claimed today.

Boris Johnson has been appealing for the president to loosen the harsh rules, and issue was expected to come up during 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 yet to reciprocate.

According to the Financial Times, Mr Biden is due to unveil a new policy imminently that would apply to EU and British travellers from November. 

UK government sources told MailOnline they expect an announcement later and 'it's looking positive'. 

Joe Biden

Mr Johnson arrived at New York's JFK airport last night ahead of a meeting with the President

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 dedicated working group in June to take the issue forward, following talks at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

But progress on the issue appeared to have stalled.

At present, travellers from the UK cannot visit the US without special permission from the United States government.

The ban meant that Tennis star Emma Radacanu's family were unable to travel to New York this month to watch her spectacular victory in the final of the US Open.

What are the new travel rules from October 4 and how do they compare to the current traffic light system? 

As of October 4, the Government's travel traffic light system is being replaced with 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.

Travel to and from nations in 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 will work: 

Travel from the 'rest of the world' if you are fully vaccinated

Travellers must book and pay for a day two coronavirus test to be taken after arriving back in England.

They do not need to take a pre-departure test before coming back to the country or take a day eight test. There is no quarantine requirement – assuming the day two test is negative.

Travel from the 'rest of the world' if you are not fully vaccinated

Travellers must take a pre-departure coronavirus test before coming back to England. 

They must also book and pay for a day two and day eight test. 

After arriving in England they must quarantine at home for 10 days.

Travel from red list countries

Normal travel from these countries remains banned and only UK nationals can return from them.

Travellers must take a pre-departure test. They must also book and pay for a Government-backed quarantine hotel package.

The stay in hotel quarantine will cost more than £2,000 and will involve two tests.

The 'red list' rules apply regardless of vaccination status. 

WHAT IS CURRENTLY IN PLACE? 

RED: Travel to the UK from a red list country is banned for non-UK nationals. Britons returning to the UK must take a pre-departure test and book a ten-day stay in hotel quarantine including tests at a cost of £1,750. Countries include Brazil, Turkey, Bangladesh and South Africa.

AMBER: A pre-departure test is required before heading to Britain while non-vaccinated people have to quarantine for ten days at home and book tests on day two and day 8. They can also pay for a day 5 test under the 'test to release' scheme. The fully-vaccinated do not have to isolate but they do have to book a day 2 test.  Countries include Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. 

GREEN WATCHLIST: This is a category for countries which are at risk of losing their green status (see below). Countries include Barbados, Croatia and Israel.

GREEN: Returning travellers must take a pre-departure test and book a day two test as well. Quarantine is not required for anyone unless the test is positive. Countries include Bulgaria, Canada , Iceland and Malta.

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It has also deprived the beleaguered aviation sector of one of its most important and lucrative markets.

The US is continuing to ban travel from the UK on Covid grounds. But Mr Johnson will argue that the effectiveness of the UK's vaccination programme means there is no justification for maintaining restrictions on fully jabbed travellers.

British Airways chief Sean Doyle told the Daily Mail: 'The Prime Minister is doing something this week that remains out of reach for most Britons - visiting the US.

'We need the PM to urgently make the case for re-opening the transatlantic corridor during his meeting with President Biden and move the Atlantic Charter they discussed at the G7 back in June to the top of the agenda.

'For 18 long months friends and family have been separated and the UK economy has suffered.

'Aviation must be allowed to play its part in kick-starting the British economy, re-igniting business and tourism and re-establishing the crucial links we have with the US.' 

The move to reopen travel corridors comes despite a SAGE scientist warning ministers are risking importing dangerous new Covid variants by 'abandoning' the testing system at the same time. 

Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the subcommittee advising on behaviour, said officials could have improved the system which saw 'absurd rates' charged for PCR tests by doing such testing through the NHS.

The traffic light system is to be replaced from October 4 by a single 'red list' of destinations, and those who are fully double-jabbed won't need a pre-departure test before returning from non-red list destinations.

From the end of October, they will also be able to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test.

Speaking to Sky News's Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme, Prof Reicher said the system around PCR tests has been 'dysfunctional' with 'all the different companies charging absurd rates and not providing a service'.

He said the Government has responded to this 'not by improving the system but by abandoning it entirely', and added that,

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