08 Jul COVID-19:Quarantine ditched for fully vaccinated adults and all children returning from amber list nations from 19 July | Travel News
Fully vaccinated adults and all children will no longer have to quarantine on their return from amber list countries from 19 July, Grant Shapps has confirmed.
Making a statement on international travel in the Commons, the transport secretary said those who have received two jabs and those aged under 18 will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days after their return to the UK – but will still have to take a PCR test on their second day back.
Mr Shapps also confirmed the government’s guidance that people should not travel to amber list countries will be lifted on the same July date, meaning hopeful holidaymakers can travel for leisure purposes and to see family members.
“I can confirm today that from 19 July, UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England,” Mr Shapps said.
“They will still be required to take a test three days before returning, the pre-departure test, demonstrating they’re negative before they travel, and a PCR test on or before day two, but they will no longer be required to take a day eight test.
“In essence, this means that for fully vaccinated travellers, the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same.”
The transport secretary said children under 18 must also take PCR tests on their second day back.
“Children under 18 returning from amber list countries will not have to isolate on their return nor take a day eight test,” Mr Shapps said.
“Children between the ages of five and 10 will only need to take a day two test – and, as before, children four and under will be exempt from all testing and isolation requirements.”
The transport secretary also clarified that fully vaccinated means “14 days have passed since your final dose of the vaccine” – and that the rules may differ across the different UK nations as health matters are devolved.
The change, which takes place in less than two week’s time, will open up Europe’s top holiday destinations including France, Spain, Portugal and Italy to many hopeful holidaymakers.
Mr Shapps told the Commons: “From 19 July, we will remove the guidance that people should not travel to countries on the amber list. This means people will be able to travel for leisure, business and to see family in amber list countries.”
But he warned that amber list countries could still turn red – and said there would be no changes made for people arriving from those places.
Arrivals from red list countries are required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel.
Tour operators and airlines are prepared for a surge in demand following the announcement and have welcomed the changes.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said: “This is excellent news that will give a much-needed boost to millions of people across Britain looking forward to a more normal summer and reuniting with family and friends abroad.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of the Airlines UK industry body, added that “the summer season essentially starts here”.
And Conservative chairman of the Transport Select Committee Huw Merriman said the move is “a much-needed shot in the arm for those who’ve had two shots of the vaccine in their arm”.
However the PCR test requirement means a family of four planning a summer getaway could face an additional £400 expense.
Adults who have not had both jabs will still have to quarantine when they return from an amber list country, or face a fine of up to £10,000.
Unlike red list countries, the quarantine period for amber list countries can be done at home and not in a hotel.
Most European countries are currently on the amber list, as are the United States, Mexico.
Countries on the red list – including India, Turkey and Brazil – will be unaffected.
While the announcement is for UK residents only, Mr Shapps said ministers are “working to extend our approach to vaccinated passengers from important markets of holiday destinations later this summer such as the United States and the EU”.
But Labour’s transport secretary Jim McMahon raised concerns about the “limited” data available on infection rates in other countries.
“In just a week the government has effectively taken our suggestion to effectively scrap the confused amber list, but it isn’t clear if some of the countries that are currently on the amber list should in fact be moved to the red list,” he said.