State Department raises travel advisory for the UK to its highest level as Covid-19 cases rise
By Devan Cole and Jennifer Hansler, CNN
(CNN) -- The State Department is warning Americans against traveling to the United Kingdom as the country grapples with a rise in Covid-19 cases.
The department on Monday raised its travel advisory level for the UK to "Level 4: Do not travel" due to Covid-19. The decision, which aligns with a separate US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update, comes the same day that Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted most of England's remaining pandemic-related restrictions.
Noting the CDC's decision earlier Monday to raise its UK Risk Assessment Level for Covid-19 to "Level 4: Covid-19 Very High," the department said in its updated travel advisory that there "are restrictions in place affecting US citizen entry into the United Kingdom."
"Your risk of contracting Covid-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine," the advisory continues. "Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers."
The department's advisory level for the UK was most recently at "Level 3: Reconsider Travel" because of the pandemic.
While most of the UK's adult population is now fully vaccinated, new cases are approaching 50,000 a day -- the highest rate of infection since January -- and hundreds of thousands more people have been told to isolate by a contact tracing app that tracks their possible exposure to someone who has been infected.
Despite Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland -- the other, less populous, nations of the UK -- being highly vaccinated, it is only England that moved to ease most restrictions on Monday.
Mandatory mask-wearing is gone, limits on the numbers of people who can mix indoor or outdoor have ended, social distancing will be limited to people who have tested positive for the virus and airports, and venues like nightclubs and sports stadiums are free to open at full capacity.
Meanwhile in the US, concerns over the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy are increasing, with doctors in several states suffering from surges saying the variant is sending younger and previously healthy people -- the vast majority of whom have not been vaccinated -- to hospitals.
"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week.
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