America’s chief medical advisor says Britons might be able to travel more freely to the US by the end of summer – and the UK Government is also said to be considering plans to bring back overseas holidays for the vaccinated.
Dr Anthony Fauci said it was a ‘reasonably good prediction’ to think that people could expect to have an easier time moving between the two countries.
He claimed that Britain could find itself in a ‘very favourable position’ thanks to the Government’s ‘prudent’ decision to delay the June 21 Freedom Day.
Dr Fauci told ITV News: ‘You really can’t tell because things happen, variants occur, things happen with regards to infection.
‘I think once they get more and more people vaccinated and get the people who’ve gotten a single dose to make sure they get their second dose, I think the UK is going to be in a very favourable position by the time we get to the end of the summer.’
But he also warned that richer countries must unite in an effort to help those who cannot vaccinate their populations, or another Covid variant could emerge and spread in Britain or the US.
The British Government is also looking at plans to bring back overseas holidays for vaccinated Britons, The Telegraph reports. Officials are said to be hashing out proposals that could permit people with two jabs to avoid quarantining upon their return from amber list countries – but they will still need to take a test.
Dr Anthony Fauci said it was a ‘reasonably good prediction’ to think that people could expect to have an easier time moving between Britain and the US
Dr Fauci said we had been ‘quite fortunate’ that the Kent Alpha variant and the Indian Delta variant have been sensitive to the current vaccines
If enacted, the plans, which are believed to be at an early stage, could open up the possibility of isolation-free travel to several major holiday destinations across Europe and in the United States.
A source said: ‘They haven’t definitely got there yet, but that’s the direction of travel.’
The change could save summer holidays for many as Spain, Portugal, Greece and the United States are currently on the amber list. Under current rules, Britons must self-isolate for ten days on return.
The latest move would also bring the UK closer in line with at least 33 countries including France, Germany, Spain and Greece that exempt vaccinated travellers from quarantine.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is said to be ‘open’ to the plan.
Another source said: ‘It is still at an early stage and it is not clear whether it will be worked out in time for the end of the month. There is an awful lot to do. The devil is in the detail.’
The plans are expected to be ready for discussion by the Cabinet’s Covid operations committee ahead of a June 28 deadline by which ministers have pledged to review the traffic light system. Officials are reportedly discussing how the move would affect those who cannot be vaccinated, whether under-18s should be exempt and whether it would apply to Britons or all arrivals.
The change could save summer holidays for many as Spain, Portugal, Greece and the United States are currently on the amber list. Under current rules, Britons must self-isolate for ten days on return
A Government spokesman said ministers were trying to use vaccinations to shape ‘a different set of health and testing measures for inbound travel’.
Dr Fauci said we had been ‘quite fortunate’ that the Kent Alpha variant and the Indian Delta variant have been sensitive to the current vaccines.
When asked if coronavirus might be under control by September next year, Dr Fauci said: ‘I think in countries like the UK and the United States and other countries in the European Union, that will be the case. But it will really be solely dependent upon the degree of successful vaccination.’
It comes after a leaked document gave a glimpse of the UK’s potential ‘new normal’ on Wednesday, with facemasks, working from home and travel quarantine rules set to stay even beyond July 19.
The Whitehall paper suggests that the government will stop short of urging workers to return to offices even after the new target for lifting restrictions finally arrives.
The latest move would also bring the UK closer in line with at least 33 countries including France, Germany, Spain and Greece that exempt vaccinated travellers from quarantine. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is said to be ‘open’ to the plan
There is also a suggestion that face masks will be needed in some settings long-term, as well as keeping post-travel isolation rules.
Anyone who has coronavirus symptoms will still be expected to isolate, according to the draft proposals. And fears have been raised that more restrictions will be needed if the disease surges again in the winter.
The document – seen by Politico – emerged as Boris Johnson’s crunch bill to delay the return to freedom passed through the House of Commons, winning 461 ayes and 60 noes.
For now, limits on numbers for sports events, theatres and cinemas will remain in place, nightclubs will stay shuttered and people will be asked to continue working from home where possible.
Downing Street said it did not recognise the Politco document and it ‘does not reflect the latest Government thinking’.
Mr Johnson insisted to MPs at PMQs that the Covid rules were temporary.
Responding to Tory backbencher Philip Davies he said: ‘Nobody, least of all me, wants to see Covid restrictions last forever, nor do I think they are going to last forever.’