U.S. State Department Eases Travel Advisories for UK, Israel
The U.S. State Department eased travel warnings for the United Kingdom and Israel just weeks after raising both countries — and much of the world — to its highest travel advisory classification.
The UK, which has begun lifting its strict lockdown restrictions and plans to reopen to some international travel on May 17, is now classified under "Level 3: Reconsider Travel." Currently, most travel from the UK remains prohibited, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also classifies the country as a Level 3.
While the U.S. has downgraded Britain's advisory level, the UK has not included America on its initial "green" country list, which would allow travelers to take a COVID-19 test before coming and within two days of arriving, skipping quarantine. Rather, the U.S. is considered an "amber" country, which requires travelers to get tested before arrival, and quarantine for at least five days before getting tested again several times.
The decision to downgrade the UK's travel advisory level comes as at least 53.1% of residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 26.7% are fully vaccinated, according to Reuters, which is tracking the vaccine rollout.
"The return of transatlantic flying would not only have a significantly positive impact on our respective economies but will also reunite those who have been separated from their loved ones for over a year," a coalition of U.S. and European travel groups, including from Airlines for America and Virgin Atlantic, wrote in a letter last week, Reuters reported.
In addition to the UK, the State Department also downgraded Israel's travel warning level to "Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution." It was the second time Israel's level had been reduced in recent weeks, the wire service noted.
The country, which has one of the world's most successful vaccination programs, plans to begin welcoming vaccinated tourists later this month. To start, Israel will allow vaccinated group tours (like the popular Birthright program) before eventually expanding to individual tourists.
So far, at least 59.9% of Israelis have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 56.2% are considered fully vaccinated, Reuters noted.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.