Come September, will we be travelling again? Here's what US chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said
There is a reasonable chance we will be able to travel more freely between the US and the UK by the end of the summer, America's chief medical adviser has told ITV News.
Asked by News At Ten Presenter Tom Bradby if by this September, people could expect to travel more freely between the two countries again, Dr Anthony Fauci said he believed this was "a reasonably good prediction".
However, while he said he hoped travel between the nations could resume soon, Dr Fauci added he could not predict when exactly that might be.
"You really can't tell because things happen, variants occur, things happen with regards to infection," he said.
He continued that the UK could be in a "very favourable" position by the end of the summer thanks to Boris Johnson's "prudent" decision to delay England's June 21 Freedom Day.
"The UK, I think prudently did what they did is to pull back a bit," Dr Fauci said.
"I think once they get more and more people vaccinated and get the people who've gotten a single dose to make sure they get their second dose, I think the UK is going to be in a very favourable position by the time we get to the end of the summer."
The infectious diseases expert also warned richer countries need to come together to help countries that don't have the resources to vaccinate their population - or a new Covid variant could emerge and make its way to the UK and US again.
The US doctor said coronavirus variants "should always be taken seriously" because there will always be uncertainty about how existing vaccines will handle them.
He said we have been "quite fortunate" that the Alpha variant, which originated in Kent, and the Delta variant, which originated in India, have been sensitive to vaccines currently in use.
We have been 'quite fortunate' that the existing vaccines can deal with the Alpha and Delta variants, says Dr Fauci
Dr Fauci has served as an adviser to seven US presidents during a 50-year public health sector career.
In January, the doctor told US radio station NPR that letting the science speak on the pandemic got him "into a little bit of trouble" during the Trump administrationFormer president Donald Trump had called the Covid expert part of a group of "idiots" and a "disaster" and suggested he might fire Dr Fauci after the election.
But Mr Trump lost and Dr Fauci remains in post. He said the goal in the United States is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
In the US, he explained, some states have done better than others in the vaccination rollout.
New York, which has now given 70% of adults at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, will be able to open up better than some of the southern states where the majority of people are still unvaccinated, he said.
On Tuesday, the US passed the grim milestone of 600,000 Covid deaths, with a further 219 fatalities recorded.
The country has a total of 33.3 million cases since the start of the pandemic, with 7,856 new infections on Tuesday.
About 64.6% of its adult population has had at least one jab.
On Tuesday, California and New York lifted most of their remaining restrictions, joining other states in reopening for summer.
Asked if Covid-19 could be under control by September 2022, Dr Fauci said: "I think in countries like the UK and the United States and other countries in the European Union, that will be the case.
"But it will really be solely dependent upon the degree of successful vaccination."
Could Covid-19 be under control and the pandemic be over by September 2022?
He continued: "If we come together as a global community and put resources in to get those countries that don't have the resources that the UK and the United States have to get those country vaccinated, I think we can do that by 2022.
"If we don't do it as successfully, it might take a little bit longer because whenever there's the dynamics of virus, anywhere in the world, there's always the threat of the emergence of a variant that will come back and complicate things in the UK, as well as in the United States."