Fully vaccinated UK residents arriving back into England from countries listed on the nation’s ‘amber list’ will soon no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival home.
The UK government confirmed that doubled-jabbed residents will no longer need to complete mandatory 10-day home quarantine when returning to England from medium-risk countries on Britain’s ‘amber list’ for travel, from 19 July.
According to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, a person is considered ‘fully vaccinated’ once “14 days have passed since your final dose of the vaccine”, and only vaccines administered by the NHS are counted.
The move has been heavily welcomed by the UK’s aviation industry, which has long pushed for eased travel restrictions and government support, however the industry continues to lobby for more countries to be moved from the ‘red’ list to the country’s amber and green lists.
Secretary Shapps said the government is currently “working to extend our approach to vaccinated passengers from important markets and holiday destinations, later this summer, such as the United States and the EU”.
Under the new policy, vaccinated travellers will still need to pay for and undertake COVID-19 tests three days before they return to England, and on their second day back home.
“In essence, this means that for fully vaccinated travellers the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same,” Secretary Shapps told the Parliament.
Further, from 19 July, the public health guidance that warns people against travelling to ‘amber’ countries will be removed.
Additionally, people under the age of 18 will also be exempt from quarantine when returning from countries on the amber list.
However, Secretary Shapps did warn travellers that at any point in time, an amber country could return to the red list, which would require a full 10-day quarantine at home upon return.
The policy will come into effect in England from 19 July, while Northern Ireland will follow suit on 26 July. Scotland and Wales are yet to announce if they too will adopt the policy.
Previously, anyone travelling from a country on the ‘red’ or ‘amber’ list must quarantine upon arrival back home for up to 10 days, and complete COVID-19 tests as per government requirements.
The news comes just days after London’s Heathrow Airport announced it would take part in a trial that would see vaccinated travellers entering from countries on the ‘amber list’ be fast-tracked through the airport’s screening process.
From next week, vaccinated travellers on selected flights from Athens, Los Angeles, Montego Bay and New York will be given the chance to show proof of vaccination status upon arrival, and will then be escorted to dedicated arrival lanes and avoid lengthy delays at immigration.
The move forms as part of a trial program run in joint collaboration with Heathrow Airport, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which broke the news in a joint statement intending to “get the country moving again”, according to Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO and chairman.
The trials hopes to both boost vaccination uptake, as well as ease pressure and mounting wait times at UK immigration halls, which are currently responsible for verifying required health credentials.
Upon arrival, vaccination verification will be accepted through the NHS app, CDC card, US state-level digital verification, the EU digital Covid certificate and the VeriFLY app for British Airways customers.