US, UK Working to Reopen Travel Before Holidays

U.S. officials are seeking to reopen travel between New York City and London before the holidays, using ramped-up COVID-19 testing to reduce quarantine times.

The Department of Homeland Security and Transportation are leading the effort to “safely encourage trans-Atlantic travel while mitigating public-health risks,” sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Global coronavirus pandemic lockdowns have proved a lot easier to start than to unwind. The program in the works seeks to reduce the lengthy quarantine requirements between destinations with a comprehensive testing program, likely deploying the rapid-results tests, per the report.

Once the guidelines are laid out, the U.K. and the Trump administration would need to hash out an agreement for the plan to be put into effect. Adding to the complexity of the issue, COVID-19 tests are increasingly coming back positive in both the U.S. and U.K. of late.

Current restrictions require U.S. citizens traveling to the U.K. to quarantine for 14 days, ostensibly halting business and vacation travel. The U.S. still has a ban on U.K. and European Union travel unless they are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The travel restrictions have crushed the airline industry, and getting the traffic back has proven slow and difficult, forcing international flights to be halted, if not threaten the carriers to go out of business altogether.

“We want to ease into this,” American Airlines Vice President of Customer Experience and Reservations’ Julie Rath told the Journal.

Still a vaccine might be more likely to come to the mainstream first.

“Proof of a vaccination will replace proof of a negative test result,” United Airlines Director of Operations Aaron McMillan told the Journal.

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