Passengers arriving into England from the United States will not be exempted from quarantine rules, Britain’s transport minister Grant Shapps said on Friday, Reuters reported.
Asked whether the United States would be on a ‘red-list’ of countries to which a 14-day quarantine period will apply, Shapps said: “I’m afraid it will be.”
“The U.S. from a very early stage banned flights from the UK and from Europe so there isn’t a reciprocal arrangement in place,” he told the BBC.
England is relaxing its quarantine rules for around 50 other countries.
Meanwhile, leading British scientists have given a mixed update on progress toward developing a COVID-19 vaccine to the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee.
Prof. Sarah Gilbert, of the Oxford University team developing an inoculation in partnership with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, said she is confident human trials will be completed by the autumn, by which time AstraZeneca plans to have already manufactured millions of doses in anticipation of approval.
That optimism, though, was tempered by the head of the UK’s vaccine task force, Kate Bingham, who warned that any vaccine successfully developed may not be available until 2021, and that even then, may only be able to weaken the virus rather than stop it entirely.
The vaccine currently in development at Oxford is considered one of the world’s most promising prospects for a solution to COVID-19.
Around 8,000 people in the UK are currently taking part in advanced human trials for the vaccine, and the Oxford team plans to expand testing to 4,000 people in Brazil and 2,000 in South Africa. AstraZeneca plans to launch an ambitious trial of 30,000 people in the US.