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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Biden at the G7 in Cornwall last month. Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Fully vaccinated travelers from the European Union and the U.S. will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England, effective Aug. 2 at 4 a.m. local time, the U.K. government announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's a reflection of the British government's confidence in its highly successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout, despite the spread of the Delta variant. The move stands in stark contrast to the Biden administration's continued refusal to lift restrictions for travelers from the U.K. and Europe.

  • The rule applies to fully vaccinated people inoculated with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration or European Medicines Agency approved vaccine, which include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
  • It's not yet clear whether the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland intend to follow suit.

Driving the news: The rule change comes amid pressure from the travel industry to loosen rules and allow visitors to the country, per BBC.

  • "It's especially good news for our airlines who need to fill their seats across the Atlantic," travel consultancy boss Paul Charles told the BBC. "The news will encourage millions of extra visitors into the U.K. at a time when the sector badly needs them."
  • Travelers are still required to take tests before they arrive and on the second day when they land.

Go deeper

Nov 5, 2021 - Health

DeSantis to sue Biden administration over employer vaccine mandate

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that the state will file a lawsuit in response to President Biden's vaccine mandate that goes into effect Jan. 4.

Why it matters: Thursday's lawsuit is the Republican governor's latest attempt to undermine the Biden administration's vaccine requirements.

Nov 4, 2021 - Health

Moderna falls behind on vaccine deliveries

Moderna expects to deliver far fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses this year. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Moderna lowered the expected number of its COVID-19 vaccine doses that will be delivered this year, from a previous high of 1 billion doses down to 800 million.

Driving the news: Exporting vaccines outside of the U.S. to more countries took longer than expected, and is the primary reason behind the reduced shipments, CEO Stéphane Bancel said on an earnings call Thursday.

WHO: Europe is again at epicenter of pandemic

World Health Organization European director Hans Kluge. Photo: Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Europe is "back at the epicenter of the pandemic" and approaching record COVID-19 case numbers as the Delta variant spreads and vaccination efforts stall in several regions, a top World Health Organization official warned Thursday.

The big picture: Germany reported Thursday its highest number of new coronavirus infections in one day since the pandemic began (33,949). New cases across Europe have risen 55% in the past four weeks, per WHO European director Hans Kluge. "We are at another critical point of pandemic resurgence," he warned.