CDC and State Department advise against travel to the United Kingdom as local COVID-19 cases surge

Jul 20, 2021

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So much for the highly anticipated travel corridor between the United States and the United Kingdom.

The U.S. government on Monday urged travelers to avoid visiting the U.K., citing the alarming rise in coronavirus cases at the same time as U.K. officials have relaxed nearly all COVID-19 protocols. The CDC updated its travel advisory and bumped the U.K. up to Level 4, warning that “even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”

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The State Department went even further, putting the U.K. on the Level 4: Do Not Travel list. “Do not travel to the United Kingdom due to COVID-19,” states the advisory. The advice from U.S. officials came on the same day as so-called “Freedom Day,” when the British government eliminated most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions in England as it looks to rejuvenate the economy.

The U.K. is being hit with a new surge caused by the Delta variant, with roughly 45,000 new cases being reported daily. However, unlike the last wave, coronavirus deaths in the United Kingdom are a fraction of what the country experienced over the last winter.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently in isolation after a government official tested positive, said he does not want to shut down Britain’s nightlife, he did say new rules will go into effect by the end of September that require people to provide proof of vaccination to enter nightclubs and other crowded venues such as concert halls.

The U.S. guidance would appear to dash short-term hopes of sparking a travel rebound in the U.K. with American visitors leading the way, as traveling to a country deemed high risk will likely deter many travelers from booking vacations.

The British Virgin Islands and Fiji have also been added to the CDC Level 4 list.

The warnings, however, are just that, warnings, and are not binding. But they do make traveling overseas much more difficult. If Americans still must travel to the U.K. for reasons deemed essential, you are strongly urged to be fully vaccinated before doing so. Because the U.S. is on the amber list, U.S. visitors will need to self-isolate for 10 days after arriving, as only those vaccinated in the United Kingdom can skip quarantine from 19 July.

Related: Will future insurance plans offer coronavirus coverage? Experts say yes

Travelers should also be aware that going to a country on a Level 4 advisory list could void your travel insurance policies which is a big risk when traveling overseas. TPG has an in-depth look at insurance policies that we recommend you look at. But the bottom line is this: Most insurance companies have wording in their policies that invalidate coverage if you go to countries where you are advised against non-essential travel.

Featured image by: Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

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