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Fauci: Ban on UK travelers likely to last months

Fauci: Ban on UK travelers likely to last months
© getty: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Ex-Trump doctor turned GOP lawmaker wants Biden to take cognitive test MORE, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., said Sunday that the ban on British travelers entering the U.S. is likely to last months.

Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told The Telegraph that the U.K. travel ban is expected to be lifted in “more likely months than weeks.” The infectious disease expert said the travel restrictions could last until a vaccine is ready, adding that it’s possible they are lifted sooner.

The other travel bans from the European Union, China and Brazil are also expected to last for “months” based on “what’s going with the infection rate,” Fauci said. The expert predicts the virus could “go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth.”

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Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said for the U.S., “I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so, but I don’t think it’s this winter or fall.”

But Fauci said the U.S. has four or five “potential vaccines making significant progress.”

“You can never guarantee success with a vaccine,” Fauci warned, adding that from “everything we have seen from early results, it’s conceivable we get two or three vaccines that are successful.”

“This will end,” Fauci said, according to the newspaper. “As stressful and devastating as it is, it will end.”

Trump extended the European Union travel ban to apply to the U.K. in mid-March, days after declaring the restrictions on EU travelers. 

Approximately 3.8 million U.K. citizens visit the U.S. during a normal year, and most are barred from doing so during the pandemic. But those with green cards, American spouses or U.K. government official positions are still permitted to enter.

The U.S. has the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, with more than 2 million cases and more than 115,000 deaths. In the U.K., which is considered the hot spot of Europe right now, more than 297,000 contracted COVID-19 and more than 41,000 died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci had told CNN earlier this week that a boost in infections during reopening was expected but an increase in hospitalizations related to the disease is a sign they are “going the wrong direction.”