Posts

England, Scotland, And Northern Ireland Loosen Travel Restrictions For Vaccinated Americans 

Fully vaccinated Americans can now visit England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland without quarantining beginning next week. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement on Twitter this week. 

“We’re helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK.” 

Embed from Getty Images

Initially the updated requirements were just for individuals in the US and UK, but Scotland and Northern Ireland said they would also be joining England in waiving their 10-day isolation requirement for fully vaccinated individuals from the European Union and US. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, announced this week that they recommend all US citizens remain in the country and don’t travel to the UK specifically due to rising Covid case numbers in both nations. 

Visitors to England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland will still be subject to Covid testing upon their arrival. Pre-departure testing as well as testing upon arrival will still be enforced, and vaccinated Americans must provide proof of US residency as well as proof of vaccination. 

American travelers must also fill out a patient-tracker form so that authorities are able to contact them should someone they traveled with test positive. Travelers returning to the US must also show a negative Covid result in order to board a US-bound international flight. 

Embed from Getty Images

“Given where we are today … with the delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons. The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world.”

“Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing Monday. 

United Airlines announced that it would have six daily flights between the US and London starting in August. The airline plans to resume additional flights in the coming months as well. 

“Today’s announcement is yet another major milestone in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic with the opening of one of the most important markets from the U.S.” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network and alliances, in a news release.

Tori Emerson Barnes, the executive vice president of public affairs for the U.S. Travel Association trade group, urged U.S. leaders to “follow the U.K.’s lead and set a timeline to reopen its borders to travelers. We encourage them to start with vaccinated travelers from the U.K., E.U. and Canada. The reality is there’s no difference between a vaccinated American and those vaccinated in the U.K., the E.U. and Canada.”

Covid-19 in Scotland

Scotland Enters Full Lockdown To Further Curb Spread Of Covid-19

Nicola Sturgeon recently announced that mainland Scotland would be placed in full lockdown for the duration of January.

Ballot Box

Brexit Virtually Certain as Conservatives Sweep U.K. Election

A historic election in the U.K. has given the country’s Conservative Party a powerful majority in the British Parliament, allowing controversial Prime Minister Boris Johnson to essentially reshape British politics for years to come. Though the Labour Party had hoped that the recent election would remove Johnson from the position of Prime Minister, paving the way for a second referendum to potentially prevent the country’s departure from the European Union, voters decided overwhelmingly that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was more fit to lead Britain.

Johnson, whose primary political message has been a promise to “get Brexit done” as quickly as possible, now faces little to no opposition as his power has just been augmented considerably. That being said, much of Britain’s future is now uncertain, as the negotiations involving the country’s departure from the European Union continue to be complicated and controversial. Experts are uncertain about the long-term ramifications of leaving the EU, though most economists project that the economic downturn already caused by the 2016 referendum, in which a slim majority of the country voted to leave the EU, will only worsen.

Embed from Getty Images

Now, the country will almost certainly leave the European Union early next year, a polarizing move which is sure to delight half the country and frustrate the other half. For many living in the U.K., Brexit represents a rejection of liberal ideas in favor of conservative ones, as the decision to leave the E.U. is connected with anti-immigrant sentiment as well as nationalistic pride. Indeed, yesterday’s victory indicates how thoroughly this conservative sentiment has enraptured the British electorate, as the Conservative Party’s victory is the largest the country has seen since the victory that led to the election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1987. The election represents a tremendous victory for Boris Johnson particularly because his tenure as Prime Minister has gotten off to a rocky start, characterized by several defeats in Parliament, as he was legally blocked from pursuing a no-deal Brexit and a deal he negotiated with the European Union was voted down in Parliament.

Now, however, Boris Johnson will be in power for five years, a period of time during which he has the power to make tremendous political changes to the country, with the historically consequential Brexit being the first order of business. The value of the pound skyrocketed after news of the election spread, reflecting a belief that the chaos that has for years defined British politics will soon subside and the country’s departure from the EU will be orderly and largely uncontested in Parliament, as Johnson’s power to negotiate terms of a Brexit deal in accordance with his wishes has expanded tremendously.

Embed from Getty Images

That being said, Johnson still faces some opposition in Parliament. Specifically, the Scottish National Party, which gained more than a dozen seats in the election, stridently opposes Mr. Johnson’s desire to get Brexit done as quickly as possible, and the party may push for calls for a referendum on Scottish independence, which would allow Scotland to remain in the EU by breaking ties with England. Additionally, Mr. Johnson’s negotiations to leave the EU are likely to be influenced by the country’s working class, who are likely to focus on invigorating Britain’s manufacturing economy and protecting the economy from imports, a vision that contradicts the Prime Minister’s desires.

International observers have had a wide range of perspectives on the issue, with many analysts judging the country’s historic election, which will have ramifications around the world, as a sign of exhaustion and frustration with democracy in an information age that is saturated with political news of all ideologies and biases. With the vote to impeach President Trump being held today in the United States House of Representatives, one thing is for certain: the moment we are currently living in is a consequential and pivotal one in the history of global democracy, which faces unprecedented threats from multiple fronts.

Nessie

The Truth About Nessie: Have Scientists Solved This Urban Legend?

This past week, a group of international scientists met in London to deeply analyze and experiment with this theory. The group was led by Professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago, New Zealand, and with his help the team collected over 250 environmental DNA samples from the Loch in which Nessie supposedly has been growing old for the past 80+ years.