Boost for double-vaccinated UK travellers as gov relaxes amber list rules

By Luke Barras-hill |

Fully vaccinated travellers in the UK will enjoy quarantine-free travel from Amber list countries as of 19 July under changes to international travel rules laid out by government today.

Addressing ministers in the House of Commons, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that guidance advising against travel for business or leisure to countries on the list would also be removed from that date.

Under current rules, travellers returning from amber list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days and take two Covid-19 tests (on day two and day eight).

The move is a timely and welcome boost for the aviation sector given many European countries on the amber list.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

‘SMALL STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION’

Shapps said: “As we begin to ease restrictions, travel will not be the same as before.

“People should continue to check Foreign office travel advice, travel where possible outside busy weekend times and importantly, they should expect that their experience with the border will of course be different as longer waiting times will be necessitated by risks, even as we introduce and expand the range of e-gates available to read the passenger locator forms.”

No changes have been made to the current rules regarding those travellers arriving from the 56 destinations currently on the red list.

The quarantine-free green list, which recently added Malta, Madeira and the Balearic Islands, includes 27 destinations.

“The 19th July will mark the next step in this cautious reopening of international travel and thanks to this government’s incredible success with the vaccination programme, people in England will be able to travel more easily, visit family and friends, get business moving again and kickstart our economy,” added Shapps.

Reacting to the announcement, Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport said: “Plans to open up travel to ‘amber’ countries for those who have received both doses of the NHS vaccine without the need for quarantine is another small step in the right direction.  It capitalises on the UK’s world leading vaccination programme and will be very encouraging news for all those who want to start travelling again.

“However, with summer holidays just around the corner, we are approaching a crucial time for our industry and we urge government to remove other barriers inhibiting international travel, including the need for costly PCR tests for those who have been double vaccinated.

“At the very least, if tests are required, they should be the more readily available lateral flow tests or PCR tests carried out free of charge at an NHS facility, as has been done in France.

“We would also urge government to urgently follow the lead of EU counties to ensure that internationally agreed, coordinated protocols are in place so that processes when crossing borders to other countries are as smooth as possible, with no unnecessary queues, checks or costs.”

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