US Officials Advise All Americans Against Traveling To Britain

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department, citing the surge in covid cases in the United Kingdom, raised their travel advisories to “level 4,” the highest warning the federal government has made on trips to Britain.

The Washington Post:
State Department, CDC Warn Against United Kingdom Travel As Coronavirus Cases Surge, Restriction Lift 

The U.S. government issued its most severe warnings against travel to Britain this week as coronavirus cases there soared to the highest levels in months and authorities in England scrapped nearly all remaining restrictions in a bid to restart the economy. The State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday urged all Americans to avoid visiting the country. “Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” the CDC said in an updated travel notice. (Cunningham, 7/20)

60% Of People Being Admitted To UK Hospitals Are Unvaccinated – Adviser

Britain’s Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said that 60% of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, correcting an earlier statement he made on Monday. Vallance earlier said at a news conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson that 60% of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have had two doses of vaccine. (Holton, 7/19)

Rising Cases Cloud England’s Coronavirus “Freedom Day” 

Rising new cases and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s journey back into quarantine dampened England’s “freedom day” on Monday, when the country lifted most of its remaining coronavirus-related restrictions. Face masks and capacity limits are no longer allowed in England, freeing up people to attend large events again, though scientists have warned that it could be dangerous to fully reopen when infections are increasing, according to AP. (Knutson, 7/19)

UK PM Johnson Dismissed COVID-19 Lockdown As Only Elderly Would Die, Ex-Aide Says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was not prepared to impose lockdown restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 to save the elderly and denied the National Health Service would be overwhelmed, his former top adviser said in an interview aired on Monday. In his first TV interview since leaving his job last year, excerpts of which were released on Monday, Dominic Cummings said Johnson did not want to impose a second lockdown in the autumn last year because “the people who are dying are essentially all over 80”. (MacAskill, 7/20)

The UK also made a decision about vaccines for children —

UK Opts Not To Vaccinate Most Under-18s Against COVID-19

The British government has decided not to inoculate most children and teenagers against COVID-19 until more safety data on the vaccines become available. Children as young as 12 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, as well as those who are household contacts of individuals who are immunosuppressed, will be eligible for vaccination, the government said Monday. (Kirka, 7/19)

Also —

The New York Times:
The Beta Variant: What Scientists Know

England lifted nearly all of its pandemic restrictions on Monday, which some Britons have hailed as “freedom day.” The British government, however, made a notable exception: People traveling to England from France must continue to quarantine upon their arrival, even if they are fully vaccinated. The rule, announced on Friday, was spurred by concerns about the presence of the Beta variant of the coronavirus in France and is intended as a precautionary measure, officials said. … The Beta variant, formerly known as B.1.351, was first detected in South Africa last year. It contains several mutations, in a protein called spike, that help the virus bind more tightly to human cells. (Anthes, 7/19)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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