WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The U.S. State Department has issued the highest-level warning against unnecessary travel, especially to the United Kingdom, in light of the region’s rising COVID-19 infections. The country is now seeing more than 50,000 cases a day.
Americans can travel, with some quarantine and testing required to the U.K., Europe, Mexico, and soon, Canada. But here in the U.S., the White House has yet to lift its entry ban on non-U.S. citizens coming from those places.
The CDC advised Americans to only travel if they are fully vaccinated, but the state department went further, discouraging travel to the U.K. outright.
Britain requires Americans to quarantine for 10 days.
“Any decisions about reopening international travel will be updated by our own medical professionals,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. “We give American citizens guidelines, they make their own decisions about where they travel.”
But even with concerns over the Delta variant, air travel in America is coming back with a vengeance. The latest numbers are expected to shatter even pre-pandemic records once international flights pick up.
Andrew Gobeil, director of communications for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — the busiest airport in the country — has some advice.
“Just stay informed. If you want to travel internationally, if you want to go to France, if you want to go to Asia, if you want to go to Australia, great, have a great time. But make sure you are informed about the requirements,” said Gobeil.
But, in a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, concerns about whether TSA is ready were on full display.
“We must ensure our security is ready and checkpoints are properly staffed,” said Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.).
TSA started the year with the goal of hiring 6,000 agents. Many of those positions remain unfilled, even after offering $1,000 signing bonuses.
There’s also still concern about the alarming increase of air rage incidents reported on flights.
“There has been some frustration over the mask mandate that’s been widely reported. But we’re also seeing a number of these, whether it’s on our checkpoints or in the air, they’re alcohol-related,” said Darby LaJoye of the TSA.