British authorities announced Thursday that the country will soon be open to receiving fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and most European Union member countries. Authorities said visitors will no longer be required to quarantine when they arrive starting August 2.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wants Americans and other Europeans to travel to the UK "freely." The Scottish government also made the same announcement of lifting quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated visitors.
"We're helping reunite people living in the U.S. and European countries with their family and friends in the UK," transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said in a post on social media.
The UK had been gradually easing movement restrictions over the past weeks despite a surge in new infections. Since last week, cases have started to decline - surprising experts and officials who expected cases to continue to rise. Some experts have linked the decline to factors such as the school summer break and the end of the football championships. However, some experts speculate that the decline could be because fewer tests are now being conducted.
Starting Aug. 2, quarantine requirements will be lifted for fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S., the European Union (except France), Norway and Switzerland. Only those who received shots authorized by either European or American regulators will be eligible. Travelers from France will still need to self-isolate for 10 days and they also need to submit to a coronavirus test upon arrival.
Most European countries have already opened their borders to American tourists since the EU recommended lifting the ban on nonessential travel last month. However, the U.S. has yet to reciprocate the move as all EU and UK travelers are still barred from entering the country.
Earlier in the week, the Biden administration announced that it will continue to restrict entry to all travelers from Europe. Officials said infected travelers could contribute to the further spread of the more contagious Delta variant, which is already wreaking havoc across the nation. The State Department also issued a travel advisory, warning Americans to avoid traveling to the UK, Spain and Portugal.