HealthDay News — The U.S. government issued its most dire warnings against travel to Britain on Monday as COVID-19 cases surged in that country while nearly all restrictions were lifted in an effort to restart the economy.
Both the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Level 4 travel alerts and urged all Americans to avoid visiting the United Kingdom. “Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” the CDC said in its updated notice. In its advisory, the State Department delivered an even stronger warning: “Do not travel to the United Kingdom due to COVID-19,” the advisory said.
The new warnings are not binding, but they were issued as Britain struggles with a surge in new infections fueled by the Delta variant that brought India to its knees this past spring.
Still, the British government forged ahead with plans to abandon most social-distancing measures in England on so-called “Freedom Day” on Monday. But after videos circulated widely of thousands of revelers jammed into bars and nightclubs on Monday night, the British government said it would issue new rules to require people to provide proof of vaccination to enter nightclubs and other crowded venues, The Washington Post reported. Those restrictions will not take effect until the end of September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a news conference, after residents older than 18 years are offered the chance to be vaccinated.
Britain is now reporting a seven-day average of roughly 45,000 daily new cases, according to Our World in Data. More than half of the British population has received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, a level of immunization that officials say has helped curb hospitalizations and deaths, The Post reported. Still, hospitalizations have risen nearly 40 percent during the past week, although Patrick Vallance, the British chief scientific adviser, said 60 percent of new COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.