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International Travel Could Restart On May 17th

International Travel Could Restart On May 17th

News - UK
22-Feb-2021

The UK government has today published guidance on the country coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions. As a Walt Disney World community, there is one section I went straight to, and that was the restrictions on international travel.

The documentation on Page 36 says from May 17th International travel is allowed "subject to review". No further information is given, but it seems around this is time where going abroad could be allowed again. However, it's most likely to be around the 21st June date when social distancing rules are abolished. The government information on international travel (from 21st June) is displayed below, which is available on their recently published documentation starting on page 41.

Keep in mind, even if we're allowed to travel internationally again, the USA needs to open their borders to allow us in.
International travel
135. The Government’s objective is to see a safe and sustainable return to international travel, for business and pleasure. When it is safe to do so the UK will again be the destination of choice for international visitors from around the world. In the short- term, the Government will continue to protect the vaccine rollout and mitigate against the risk posed by imported variants.
136. Vaccinations could offer a route to that safe and sustainable return. Once more is known about the evidence of vaccines on transmission and their efficacy against new variants, the Government can look to introduce a system to allow vaccinated individuals to travel more freely internationally.
137. The UK is working with other countries who have started similar programmes, to lead global efforts to adopt a clear international framework with standards that provide consistency for passengers and industry alike. The Government will make this a reality through ongoing work with the World Health Organisation and other multilateral organisations, the UK’s presidency of the G7 this year, and by working with other international partners.
138. However, any such system will take time to implement. It will be heavily dependent on improved scientific understanding about the role vaccination plays in reducing transmission. Introducing such a system also needs to be fair and not unduly disadvantage people who have yet to be offered - or gain access to - a vaccine. That being the case, the Government does not expect this solution to be available quickly, and restrictions like those in place across the world are likely to continue for the near future.
139. The Government recognises that international travel and tourism bring many economic and other benefits to communities across the UK. The aviation sector in the UK drives large direct exports and is a critical enabler of wider UK trade and economic activity. It facilitates around £95 billion of the UK’s non-EU trade exports, directly contributes £22 billion to the UK economy and supports half a million jobs. International travel is particularly important in gateway cities and underpins the competitiveness and global reach of the UK’s national and regional economies, supporting jobs in hospitality, in retail and in our world class museums, theatres and visitor attractions. It is also the case that global restrictions have hit airlines, airports, cruise and travel operators particularly hard. The resumption of safe travel will be particularly important for these businesses.
140. Therefore, the Government is keen to find ways to work closely with the industry to ease restrictions on international travel gradually and sustainably.
141. The Department for Transport will lead a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce, with an ambition to develop a framework that can facilitate greater inbound and outbound travel as soon as the time is right, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants. This will look to take a risk-based approach, making use of the suite of measures the Government already has in place such as testing and isolation and the recommendations from the first Global Travel Taskforce last year.
142. The Taskforce will report to the Prime Minister and work with UK representatives of the travel sector, including airlines and airports. It will report on 12 April, with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as is possible, while still managing risk from imported cases and Variants of Concern. Following that, the Government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than Step 3. The decision on when international travel can resume will be dependent on the global and domestic epidemiological picture, the prevalence and location of any Variants of Concern, the progress of vaccine rollouts here and abroad, and what more the Government has learned about the efficacy of vaccines on variants, and the impact on transmission, hospitalisation and deaths.
143. In addition, the Global Travel Taskforce run last year committed the Government to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in support of the sector. The Government intends to set out proposals in the spring, including plans for a world class marketing campaign to welcome back visitors to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.
144. Restrictions on international travel will need to remain in place for the moment. However, following the Taskforce’s report in April, the Government will take a decision on when these can be removed, which will be no earlier than Step 3 (17 May). This decision will be dependent on the global and domestic epidemiological picture, the prevalence and location of any Variants of Concern, the progress of vaccine rollouts here and abroad, and what more we have learned about the efficacy of vaccines on variants, and the impact on transmission, hospitalisation and deaths.

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