The U.S. and U.K. are expected to open up travel between the two nations “as soon as possible” through a new Atlantic Charter.
The declaration will be modeled after a 1941 joint statement from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, which laid out their post-World War II vision for the world.
President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson are expected to agree to the Atlantic Charter in Cornwall on Thursday, where the two have their first in-person meeting before heading to the G7 summit.
When will US-UK travel reopen?
While the original Atlantic Charter included landmark agreements to promote democracy and free trade, its successor will include a commitment to lift travel restrictions between the U.S. and U.K., according to a statement from the U.K. government.
Travel between the two countries has largely been at a standstill for the last 15 months. Most U.S. travelers can’t visit London without quarantining for 10 days, and U.K. residents are not allowed to travel to the U.S.
Before the pandemic, more than 5 million Brits visited the U.S. every year, while more than 4.5 million Americans visited the U.K. — more than any other country, according to the U.K. government.
The reopening of travel between the two countries will be made possible through a new travel taskforce, which will make recommendations on how to safely reopen international travel. The taskforce will be overseen by the Secretary of State for Transport in the U.K., and chaired by senior officials in the Department for Transport and their U.S. counterparts.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Wednesday that the U.S. has established working groups of public health experts with the United Kingdom and European Union to move toward the easing of travel restrictions.
“The point of these working groups is to share data and set out both milestones and criteria to enable a reopening of travel between our two countries as swiftly as possible, consistent with public health guidance,” Sullivan said.
How will the Delta variant impact COVID restrictions?
The charter agreement comes as vaccination rates around the world continue to climb and countries begin to loosen their travel restrictions. Some European Union Countries, including France and Spain, are reopening their borders to fully-vaccinated travelers. Others, like Canada, have had government officials hint at travel restriction updates in the coming weeks.
British health experts have recently noted that the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant in the U.K. may delay plans to lift most remaining lockdown restrictions on June 21. The variant was first identified in India is 40% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
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