The Western world is beginning to catch up to the United States in relaxing COVID-related restrictions in the effort to return to normal. However, for unknown reasons, the US remains on the UK’s list of travel bans.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who implemented some of the most restrictive lockdown measures anywhere in the world, is finally set to commence the next phase of easing restrictions, particularly pertaining to travel.

Johnson is expected to announce on Monday that quarantine-free international travel can resume May 17 for the “green list” of 12 countries including Israel, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, and the Faroe Islands, Reuters reported.

Travelers from the “amber category” including the United States, France, Spain, and Italy, were excluded and will still be subject to a 10-day quarantine upon arrival to the UK.

Transport minister Grant Shapps said the move marks “the first step” in lifting travel restrictions in a way designed to protect public health while beginning a “cautious return to international travel.”

“Today marks the first step in our cautious return to international travel, with measures designed above all else to protect public health and ensure we don’t throw away the hard-fought gains we’ve all strived to earn this year,” Shapps announced.

Contrary to the transport minister’s claim that the decision is in the best interest of “public health,” a US travel official says the prime minister’s decision to continue the partial travel ban “isn’t backed by the science” amid rising vaccinations and lower infection rates among Americans.”

“The UK’s decision to put the United States on their amber status for reopening just isn’t backed by the science,” said US Travel Association CEO Roger Dow. “Putting the US on amber status ignores the scientific data regarding increasing vaccination rates, lower infection rates and that the US has the right strategies in place to mitigate risk.”

CPVOD case rates have never been lower in the United States as states continue to reopen ahead of summer. Currently, about one-third of the country, or 114,258,244 million American adults, have been fully vaccinated. Nearly 40 million more are on their way, having received at least one dose.

Demanding that the US government make stronger efforts to work with the UK on lifting travel restrictions, Dow added, “The US needs to demonstrate leadership and come to the table with the UK and increase dialogue to allow for a reopening of travel with one of our most important international partners.”

With the Biden administration facing pressure from airlines and travel officials to negotiate with Johnson on expanding post-pandemic travel, restriction-less intercontinental travel could resume in the coming months in the bid to return to normal life.