The U.S. State Department is urging Americans not to travel to Britain because of the rising levels of new COVID-19 cases in the country.
The State Department raised its travel advisory for Britain to its highest level on Monday, following a similar action taken by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier in the day.
Both agencies said if people must travel to Britain to make sure they are fully vaccinated before their journey.
The revised advisories were issued as the British people celebrated “Freedom Day,” the official end of nearly all coronavirus lockdown restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson likely cast a pall over the celebration when he announced that proof of vaccination will be required to enter nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather beginning at the end of September. Johnson spent Freedom Day in quarantine after Britain’s health minister Sajid Javid tested positive for COVID-19.
Cases in Britain topped 50,000 per day last week for the first time since January. The surge is largely driven by the delta variant of the virus, first identified in India.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Canadian government announced Monday that it would reopen its border to U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the United States beginning August 9, as long as they show proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of arrival. Officials also said it will allow fully vaccinated visitors from other countries beginning September 7.
Lockdown in Australia
Meanwhile, more than half of Australia’s 25 million citizens are under coronavirus lockdown measures Tuesday after South Australia state Premier Steven Marshall announced an immediate seven-day lockdown after five new cases were detected there. South Australia joins the neighbouring states of Victoria and New South Wales to impose extended lockdowns since late June, when an airport limousine driver in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, tested positive for the highly contagious delta variant after transporting international aircrews.
The new lockdown in South Australia came as Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews extended a five-day lockdown imposed just last Thursday for at least another seven days after reporting 13 new local infections.