Vaccinated Americans can travel to Europe this summer
- The EU and the USA are in talks to allow fully vaccinated Americans to travel to Europe
- A quarter of US and EU adults have received their first COVID-19 shot
- USA-UK travel corridor rumours spark US holiday hopes for Brits
- When can I travel to the USA from the UK?
During an interview with The New York Times, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that American tourists who have received both their COVID jabs would be allowed to travel to the EU this summer.
The announcement comes after months of travel restrictions and bans on non-essential travel as Europe, the USA, and the rest of the world grappled with the deadly spread of COVID-19.
According to the latest COVID data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 231 million coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the US.
As of April 27th, 140,969,663 people or 42.3% of the USA’s adult population, have received their first COVID jab, while 95,888,088 people or 28.9% of US adults are fully vaccinated.
After a laggard start in the race to the immunisation, data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that 24.3% of EU adults have received their first dose of a COVID vaccine, and 8.9% of the adult population is fully inoculated.
The accelerated vaccination rollouts in the US and the EU have led to advances in talks over a safe return to international travel and making vaccine passports acceptable as proof of immunity for travellers.
The EU Commission President also appeared to take a dig at the UK during the interview with The New York Times. President von der Leyen stated: “As far as I can see, the Americans are using European Medicines Agency-approved (EMA) vaccines, and as a result, we will permit free movement and travel to the EU.”
She went on to say, “the European Union will accept American tourists who have been fully vaccinated with EMA-approved vaccines” – referring to the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson jabs.
Ms von der Leyen also praised the US for its rapid vaccine campaign, which has become a leader in the immunisation race. According to the American government, the US is on track to inoculate 70% of American adults by mid-June.
While a return to travel would depend on the epidemiological scenario in the USA, the country’s improving situation is fuelling hopes for those keen to holiday abroad this summer.
Some EU member states such as Greece are already making exceptions for travel to kickstart its tourism industry. Last week, Greek authorities said they would open their borders to US holidaymakers on Monday, providing travellers present a negative COVID test or vaccination certificate.
Some EU diplomats have also criticised the bloc’s criteria for travel, arguing that the improved global COVID-19 situation and progressive vaccine rollouts in countries such as the US, UK and Israel have negated the plans.
Nonetheless, vaccine passport talks between Brussels and Washington continue. Most governments will likely introduce coronavirus vaccine certificates or passport policies to facilitate future international travel.
Despite declining virus caseloads in the UK, the European Union is yet to open vaccine passport talks or discussions concerning travel with Britain.
Will Brits be able to travel to the EU this summer?
While the bloc and the US have engaged in talks over restarting travel, an EU diplomat said the bloc and the UK had not been involved in similar discussions.
It comes despite evidence revealing that Britain has the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe and news of its vaccination campaign being expanded to include people aged 40-years-old and over once again.
According to GOV.uk, nearly 50 million vaccinations have been administered in Britain. While the daily average has dropped, the British government remains confident that it can offer the rest of the adult population their first COVID jab by July-end.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said that COVID vaccine passports are forthcoming. He hopes to allow international travel from May 17th – in line with his lockdown exit roadmap target.
However, given that Brussels and London are yet to discuss solutions to ensure a safe return to travel between, many holidaymakers hoping to travel to Europe this summer could be disappointed.
That said, some of the bloc’s member states are looking at reopening their borders to British tourists, irrespective of the EU Commission’s decision. Greece already revealed that it would welcome tourists from May 14th, providing proof of a negative COVID test taken within three days of departure is presented.
Furthermore, a research study conducted by the world’s travel data co-op ADARA found that Brits are more eager to holiday in the US than Europe this summer.
US holiday bookings soar following US-UK travel corridor rumours
According to ADARA, the USA has become a holiday hotspot for Brits this summer.
ADARA notes that the British government’s confirmation of a traffic light system for trips abroad has been the catalyst. The third wave in Europe may have also acted as a deterrent for British holidaymakers.
The travel data company revealed that the number of US-bound bookings for summer 2021 has surged, and America is now the most popular destination for Brits, followed by India and Spain in third.
There have also been reports of a USA-UK travel corridor being opened this summer, fuelling hopes for vacations in America.
While no concrete plans have been revealed just yet, US flight executives said that talks with the British government have been productive.
Although the US passed a grim milestone over the weekend, as the COVID-19 death toll surpassed, 500,000 Americans aged 16 and over have been given the green light to receive their COVID-19 shots, boosting hopes of a sustainable post-pandemic recovery is on the horizon.
Airlines and tourism companies have also been advised to prepare for a surge in holiday bookings when the UK government’s traffic light system is imposed. More brands are reporting spikes in enquiries and bookings ahead of the May 17th target, with Brits desperate to go abroad after months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
That said, the US government will more than likely keep some restrictions in place regardless of whether a USA-UK travel corridor is introduced or not as COVID-19 mutations continue to pose a threat.
The CDC is even advising fully vaccinated people to wait at least two weeks after receiving their second jab before travelling to build up immunity against the virus.
So, the question that may be in many of your minds is: “When can I travel?”
When can I travel to the USA from the UK?
Despite the improving coronavirus situation in Britain, the ban on travel to the UK from the USA is still in effect.
US President Joe Biden also raised the travel advisory to Britain to alert level 4 – permitting all but non-essential travel to the country.
The news delivered a significant blow to airlines and airports, which have pushed both governments to open a travel corridor to facilitate trips between the two countries.
Despite the latest development, Joe Biden is said to be considering revoking the travel ban in May due to the strong vaccination campaigns in both countries.
At present, anyone found living or visiting the EU and six other countries, including China, Brazil and South Africa, over the last 14-day period are prohibited from entering the United States.
Apart from the 31 countries considered “Level 1 or low risk”, the CDC advises US travellers against all non-essential travel to other parts of the world.
While the possibility of a USA-UK corridor remains uncertain, Britain is due to publish its “green list” on May 10th, and it’s widely hoped that the United States will feature.