UK working on a plan to allow fully vaccinated travellers without quarantine
The UK Government is preparing to allow Britons who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus to travel to more than 150 countries without the need to quarantine on their return to England during the summer. Officials expect the new policy to be signed off by the government in the next few days, paving the way for the reopening of international travel to popular destinations in Europe, and farther afield, on Britain’s so-called amber list of medium-risk countries.
However, the change is unlikely to come into force before August, and ministers are expected to keep a tight limit on the number of destinations on the so-called green list for quarantine-free travel when they provide an update this week.
This may limit the benefit to airlines such as EasyJet and British Airways, who have stepped up demands to relax border restrictions with vaccines now having reached 65% of the UK population.
“The whole point of the vaccine program is to be able to remove restrictions,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday (Tuesday). “We are working on a plan for double vaccinated people, using tests and to have that testing regime in place instead of having to have the quarantine in some circumstances.”
Final decisions on the quarantine policy and the green list have not yet been taken inside the government, and both will be subject to scientific advice on the status of the pandemic. With the European Union now moving to ease border restrictions from July 1st, the calls for the UK to follow suit have grown increasingly urgent.
The government is also due to give an update on the green list and any rule changes, including exemptions for people who have been fully vaccinated, on Thursday or on June 28th, officials have said.
14 countries that should be on the green list:
Analysis by the PC Agency consultancy has suggested 14 countries currently on Britain's 'amber list' that could be moved to green because their case rates over the 14 days are less than half of those in Britain. The UK Government is set to decide this week on whether the current green list will be expanded from 11 countries which include only Gibraltar, Iceland and Israel as viable holiday destinations for British tourists.
But experts warned that mass changes are unlikely at the moment, especially given the move earlier this month to put Portugal on the amber list having pushed it to the green list in May.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said “the next update on the traffic light system is due this Thursday, with the first milestone review of travel due on June 28th, although the two could be merged as part of an overall update on how the UK Government will treat double-jabbed citizens, but I believe the government will only add a small number because they continue to adopt a cautious approach.”
The 14 countries they believe could be added due to their data are:
According to their study based on requirements by the UK Government, the Canary Islands would remain on the amber list due to the epidemiological situation and incidence rates in the archipelago.