Governments in the UK and Canada are both gearing up to allow fully vaccinated citizens to travel freely without enforcing quarantine periods upon arrival back in their home country.
From August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government will allow fully-vaccinated Britons to travel freely to more than 150 countries without performing a 10-day quarantine upon their return, in a policy that is expected to be formally announced in the coming days.
Under the soon-to-be-introduced policy, Britons who have been fully inoculated against COVID-19 will be able to freely travel to and from countries on the UK’s ‘amber list’ – considered medium-risk countries – on the nation’s traffic light system for travel.
Currently, people can only freely move to and from countries listed on the ‘green list’, which includes countries like Gibraltar, Israel and Australia.
Meanwhile, as it stands, an individual must self-isolate for up to 10 days and produce two negative COVID-19 tests, should they choose to travel from an ‘amber’ country. Arrivals from ‘red’ countries are sent into mandatory hotel quarantine.
“The whole point of the vaccine program is to be able to remove restrictions,” UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio on 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.”
The UK is likely to keep the number of countries on its ‘green’ list quite small, until the new policy comes into play towards the end of the summer season.
It comes just days after British aviation unions performed a march across major UK airports, urging the government to ease travel restrictions and save the struggling aviation sector.
It also comes as various EU nations look to impose quarantine restrictions on travellers from the UK as the Delta variant continues to spread and cases spike, despite a strong rollout of the COVID vaccine.
Meanwhile, in Canada, rules around mandatory 14-day quarantine for fully-vaccinated citizens and residents returning to the country are due to be eased within weeks.
Under the new changes, from 11:59pm on 5 July, vaccinated Canadians will be able to travel and re-enter Canada without entering mandatory hotel quarantine, provided they can prove their vaccination status, and are willing to take a PCR test upon re-entry into Canada.
Canadian travellers will need to provide proof of vaccination at least 14 days prior to travel, as will need to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of entering Canada.
They will then be required to self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
Notably, the policy does not apply to foreign nationals, including US citizens, and the US/Canada border remains closed to foreign nationals for nonessential travel.
“On both sides of the border we’re proceeding with appropriate caution and care and taking the advice of our public health experts as we begin to ease border measures,” said Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
“But clearly we’re not there yet and we’ve got a lot of work to do and I think it’s another opportunity just go encourage Canadians to continue to get those vaccinations.”