July 20, 2021|Updated today at 9:16 a.m. EDT
In its highest-level advisory Monday, the State Department delivered an even sterner warning. “Do not travel to the United Kingdom due to COVID-19,” the advisory said.
The new U.S. travel warnings are not binding, but they were issued as Britain struggles to contain the fallout from a surge in new infections caused by the delta variant first identified in India.
Even as new cases climbed in recent weeks, the British government forged ahead with plans to abandon most virus curbs in England on “Freedom Day” on July 19.
But the government said later Monday, just hours after videos showed revelers crammed into bars and entertainment spots as the clock struck midnight, that it would instate new rules to require people to provide proof of vaccination to enter nightclubs and other crowded venues.
The restrictions would take effect by the end of September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a news conference, after residents over the age of 18 are offered the chance to be vaccinated.
“I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again,” Johnson said, according to BBC News. “But it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing.”
Britain is reporting a seven-day average of roughly 45,000 daily new cases, according to Our World in Data, which tracks publicly available figures. Some of the country’s top leadership — including Johnson — are in quarantine after Health Secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for the virus during the weekend.
More than half of the population has received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, a level of immunization that officials say has helped prevent hospitalizations and deaths.
Deaths also climbed 48 percent week-on-week, with 19 confirmed fatalities on Monday. When Britain was reporting similar daily case numbers during a devastating surge in January, more than 1,000 covid-related deaths were recorded each day.
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