News: Fully vaccinated travellers to skip England quarantine

Fully vaccinated travellers from the European Union and United States will be able to avoid quarantine when arriving in England, the government has confirmed.

Currently, people who have been fully vaccinated in the UK do not need to isolate when travelling from countries on the amber list, except from France.

But that exemption did not apply to people vaccinated outside the UK.

The Covid Operations Committee met earlier and made the decision to relax the regulations.

It comes as cases of Covid-19 continue to fall in the UK.

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Travellers will still need to do a pre-departure Covid-19 test before arrival in England, and take a PCR test on day two of arriving in the country.

The policy is expected to come into effect on August 2nd, at 04:00.

The travel industry had been pushing for the change in the rules so that people living abroad can more easily come to the UK for holidays or to visit loved ones.

British Airways earlier said the changes would be safe for travellers.

However, although they will be able to avoid quarantine in England, citizens of the United States are currently urged not to travel to the UK by the domestic health protection agency, the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention.

Industry Reaction

Reacting to the news, Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said: “Following news that fully vaccinated EU and US citizens arriving into the UK will no longer be required to self-isolate, we stand ready to work with government to ensure new rules are smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the transatlantic corridor.

“Recent proof-of-concept trial between Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow and British Airways has demonstrated our readiness to rapidly operationalise an expanded Amber policy, with 99 per cent of customers’ vaccine credentials authenticated at the point of departure.”

He added: “We now urge UK government to go further and move the US to the green list and for the Biden administration to repeal the 212F proclamation for UK travellers.

“The UK is already falling behind US and EU and a continued overly cautious approach towards international travel will further impact economic recovery and the 500,000 UK jobs that are at stake.”

Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, echoed the sentiments.

He said: “This announcement that quarantine will be removed for vaccinated US and EU visitors to England is a fantastic step forward that will allow the £28 billion inbound tourism sector, which supports over 500,000 jobs across the UK, to finally restart.

“However, businesses that are reliant on international visitors still face substantial barriers to recovery, having had virtually no business since March last year.

“Even with reciprocity, the valuable 2021 summer season is all but lost for inbound tourism, meaning thousands of businesses and jobs will continue to be at risk over winter.”

He added: “There is a real fear that government will view today as job done, the industry can trade again and therefore no further support is required.

“This simply is not the case.

“There are still significant restrictions at our borders, constraining businesses’ ability to trade.”

Dale Keller, chief executive of BAR UK, argued further countries should be added to the exemption list.

He explained: “The recognition of fully vaccinated passengers from the EU and USA is the biggest step towards rebuilding the international travel sector since the limited lifting of restrictions on May 17th.

“This significant reopening must lead the way so that many other low risk countries with well-developed vaccination programmes can be added at the earliest opportunity without waiting until the October review.”

He added: “Meanwhile, the country review due next week should include a revision to the methodology of how countries are allocated as red, amber or green and the data indicates more countries should move into green and with fewer countries classified as red.

“From August passengers will still have a confusing patchwork of requirements to navigate, including excessive and costly testing, but this announcement will go a long way towards reconnecting families and supporting the UK economy and jobs.

“Over the coming weeks airlines will continue to urge the UK government to de-layer and further simplify requirements for passengers and to lead on developing international harmonisation while maintaining the strongest border and public health security.”

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