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England puts U.S. on travel "red list" as it drops quarantine requirements for other countries

States slow reopenings as COVID-19 cases spike
States slow reopening measures as coronavirus cases spike 04:10

London — The United States has been put on England's travel "red list," meaning that people visiting from America will be forced to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival starting on July 10, Britain's transport minister Grant Shapps said Friday. The announcement comes as the U.S. has seen a record surge in coronavirus cases.

Visitors to England have been required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival since June. Shapps announced that people from more than 50 countries would soon be allowed to visit the U.K. without quarantining, leading to a "reopening of the nation." Those countries will be organized in a traffic light system, using the colors green, amber, and red to represent the prevalence of coronavirus they have in their populations. 

Green countries are deemed to be safer than England, while amber countries have reciprocal travel arrangements in place. Visitors from green and amber countries will no longer have to quarantine.

"The U.S. from a very early stage banned flights from the U.K. and from Europe so there isn't a reciprocal arrangement in place," Shapps told BBC News.

Visitors from Germany, France, Italy, and Spain will no longer have to self-isolate upon arrival, Shapps said. He added that the full list of countries that will be allowed to visit England without quarantining will be released later on Friday, after a delay due to an attempt to get other countries in the U.K. to agree to the new measures.

Leaders of other U.K. nations have been critical of the British government's approach. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said that, "We can't allow ourselves to be dragged along in the wake of another government's — to be quite frank about it — shambolic decision-making process," according to the BBC.

But lawmakers have been under pressure to ease travel restrictions due to their effect on the travel industry. 

Britain's Department for Transport said that the list of countries who are exempted from quarantining would be kept under constant review so that self-isolation measures could be quickly reintroduced if necessary.

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