The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised its Covid-19 warning level for the UK to “very high”, the highest rating on the agency’s scale measuring the amount of Covid-19 within a country.
In an advisory updated on Monday, the agency warned Americans not to travel to the UK, adding that if they “must” travel then it is advisable to be fully vaccinated first.
The new warning comes as the UK’s rate of new Covid-19 cases has exploded since early June, and is approaching highs previously seen during the worst of the second wave last winter.
“Because of the current situation in the United Kingdom, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants,” the CDC’s website warned on Monday.
The so-called “Delta” variant is believed to be the main strain driving new cases in both the US and UK. In the UK, the rate of new cases per day has soared past 40,000 and now approaches 50,000, even as nearly 7 in 10 have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 jab.
In the US, vaccinations have reached 56 per cent of the population, who have received one dose, while just under 50 per cent have received both doses. Vaccine hesitancy is seen as the driving factor blunting the rate of vaccinations across the US, but particularly in conservative communities.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, is stuck is self-isolation after coming into contact with his health minister, Sajid Javid, who despite being vaccinated tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days.
Vaccinated individuals are still able to contract the virus, but endure much milder symptoms on average and rarely require hospitalisation if infected with the disease.
Travellers returning to the US are required to provide a negative Covid-19 test result or proof of recovery from the disease within the past few months before boarding a flight, per CDC rules, even if they have received two doses of a vaccine.