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US warns against travel to the UK over 'very high' Covid cases
19 July 2021, 22:43
American citizens have been warned against travel to the UK over spiralling coronavirus cases.
The UK was placed on the highest level of the United States travel guidance - "Level 4: Very High" - on Monday, warning that even fully-vaccinated travellers could be at risk.
"Because of the current situation in the United Kingdom, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants," the guidance said.
Americans were told to "avoid travel to the United Kingdom" but advised to make sure they are fully vaccinated if travel is essential.
The UK joins nations including Brazil, South Africa and the Netherlands on Level 4.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued the update on the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson ended mask-wearing and social distancing laws, while reopening nightclubs.
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the move by the US was a "direct consequence of the Tories' failure to get a grip on this virus".
"Instead of their promised 'Freedom Day', the Conservatives' shambolic handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has left us with some of the highest new case rates anywhere in the world and forced other countries to take steps to restrict travel to the UK," the Labour MP said.
"Despite a worrying rise in infections and hospitalisations, the Government is blindly pushing ahead with removing all restrictions."
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also criticised Government’s decision to push ahead with so-called ‘Freedom Day’, saying: “Lifting all restrictions in one go is reckless and doing so when the Johnson variant is clearly out of control risks a summer of chaos.”
He added: “This will not be freedom day for the 100,000 people per day catching Covid, and the millions more being asked to isolate.”
Boris Johnson's recklessness means we're going to have an NHS summer crisis.— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) July 19, 2021
The Johnson Variant is already out of control - and we're heading to 100,000 cases a day.pic.twitter.com/8mZmP6fv6p
At a press conference on Monday, delivered virtually from where he was isolating at Chequers, Mr Johnson defended the decision to continue with ‘Freedom Day’ as planned.
“I know that with cases increasing steadily and with more and more people being asked to self-isolate, there will of course be those who would rather that we waited weeks or months longer and kept on social distancing and all the legal restrictions that we’ve been placing on our lives,” he said.
“The logic remains the same – that if we don’t open up now then we face a risk of even tougher conditions in the colder months when the virus has a natural advantage, we lose that firebreak of the school holidays and there comes a point after so many have been vaccinated when further restrictions no longer prevent hospitalisations and deaths but simply delay the inevitable.
“We have to ask ourselves the question – if not now, when?”