Double-jabbed arrivals from amber countries won't have to isolate 'later in summer'

24 June 2021, 21:59 | Updated: 24 June 2021, 23:34

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

People who have been double-jabbed will not need to quarantine when returning to the UK from amber list countries "later in the summer", according to government plans.

Ministers intend to remove self-isolation rules for people arriving in Britain from amber countries thanks to the country's "successful domestic vaccination programme".

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport (DfT) said the prospective guidance will initially apply to UK residents before being rolled out to foreign arrivals.

However, Brits will still need to take a pre-departure test and another on their second day in the country.

The department also announced that it plans to drop the guidance that people should not travel to amber list countries - such as France, Germany and most of Portugal - but these destinations may impose their own restrictions on UK arrivals.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We're moving forward with efforts to safely reopen international travel this summer, and thanks to the success of our vaccination programme, we're now able to consider removing the quarantine period for fully vaccinated UK arrivals from amber countries - showing a real sign of progress.

"It's right that we continue with this cautious approach, to protect public health and the vaccine rollout as our top priority, while ensuring that our route out of the international travel restrictions is sustainable."

It comes as the transport secretary confirmed on Thursday England's latest additions to its travel green list.

Malta, Spain's Balearic Islands and a number of Caribbean destinations are among the tourist hotspots that Brits will be free to travel to from 4am on 30 June without the need for self-isolation upon their return.

Read more: Merkel's call for Brit travellers to quarantine in EU is 'unjustified' - minister

Read more: 'Real opportunity' to open up foreign travel for fully vaccinated, PM says

The Department for Transport said: "In recognition of our successful domestic vaccination programme, and as part of the Global Travel Taskforce's checkpoint review, our intention is that later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries.

"We expect this to occur in phases, starting with UK residents. They will still be required to take a pre-departure test and a test on day two, and any positive results will be sequenced to continue to manage the risk of importing variants.

"At the same time, we intend to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries. Pending decisions on whether under-18s should routinely be offered vaccination, we will also take clinical advice on whether regular testing can provide a safe alternative to quarantine for children accompanied by vaccinated adults.

"Further detail will be set out next month including the rules which will apply to children and those unable to be vaccinated, how we will operationalise this approach at the border, and the dates on which these changes will come into effect."

Earlier, Boris Johnson said there is a "real opportunity to open up travel" this summer for those who have two doses of the coronavirus jab.

Speaking at a barracks in Aldershot, the prime minister said: "I'm not going to claim that this summer, for travel purposes, is going to be like any other summer. I don't want to cast a pall over things but, as I said the other day, it will be different."