US to Remove 18-Month Blanket Travel Ban for Vaccinated EU, UK Travelers

The White House is to announce a new travel policy on Monday morning allowing vaccinated passengers from the EU and UK to travel to the US starting from November, which is seen as a major diplomatic victory for Brussels and London, Financial Times reports.

It marks the culmination of weeks of intense diplomacy between Washington, London and Brussels ahead the start of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Biden administration’s announcement on Monday will mark the end of the former President Trump’s 18-month blanket travel ban imposed the beginning of the COVID pandemic that Biden maintained up until now.

Once the ban is lifted within weeks, fully vaccinated passengers will be able to travel along with around 40,000 people involved in clinical trials for vaccines that are not yet approved in the UK.

According to people with knowledge of the policy, it is allegedly part of a wider framework aimed to replace the patchwork system of bans and restrictions that apply to different parts of the world that the Biden administration is developing at the moment.

The current policy only allows US citizens and their immediate families, green card holders and those with national interest exemptions to travel to the US if they have been in the UK or EU in the previous 14 days.

The newly arisen prospect of a return to transatlantic travel affected directly the value of airline stocks with shares in IAG, the owner of British Airways, recording highest 10% jump on Monday afternoon compared to 3.4% rise in easyJet’s shares in London.

The shares of Air France were trading 6.7% higher in Paris, while Deutsche Lufthansa‘s shares gained 5.3% in value.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for nevertheless cautioned that there are still uncertainties remaining to be considered and reasons to be cautious about like the question of possible vaccine mandate for children or the jabs that would be deemed acceptable.

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