Double-jabbed travellers from US and EU will be allowed to enter England without isolation

29 July 2021, 06:19

Travel restrictions for people arriving from the EU and US will be eased
Travel restrictions for people arriving from the EU and US will be eased. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Double-jabbed travellers arriving from the US and EU will be allowed to enter England without the need for self-isolation from 4am on 2 August.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to Twitter to confirm reports that people travelling from these destinations will not need to quarantine upon arrival if fully vaccinated with jabs approved by their respective medicines agencies.

People will still need to do a pre-departure test before reaching England and a PCR test on their second day in the country.

He also confirmed the resumption of international cruises and the introduction of flexible testing programmes "to help key workers and drive our economic recovery".

Mr Shapps wrote: "We're helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK.

Read more: Boris Johnson hints at possible UK-US travel corridor

Read more: Govt 'looking carefully' at rules for people double jabbed abroad

"From 2nd August at 4am people from these countries will be able to come to the England from an amber country without having to quarantine if they're fully vaxxed.

"The changes will apply to fully vaxxed people with an FDA or EMA vaccine - they’ll still need to do the usual pre-departure test before arrival and take a PCR test on day 2 of returning to the England.

"We're also able to confirm the restart of international cruises and flexible testing programmes to help key workers and drive our economic recovery.

"Whether you’re a family or a business, this is progress we can all enjoy."

Read more: Labour piles on pressure over rules for people double jabbed outside UK

Read more: Govt set to open borders to fully jabbed US and EU travellers

It comes after it was understood that the coronavirus operations committee met on Wednesday morning.

The Scottish Government later announced people from the US and EU - except France - who have been double vaccinated will also be allowed to travel to Scotland without quarantining from Monday.

The same testing rules will also apply.

The Welsh Government said it "regrets" the UK Government's move to relax quarantine requirements for EU and US visitors to England, but added it would be "ineffective" to have different rules for Wales.

Northern Ireland could also follow suit as they have done for the lifting of previous travel restrictions.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: "The significance of this decision can't be overestimated. It will pump vital cash into the travel economy, and help salvage the rest of the summer.

"Inbound visitors deliver billions of pounds to the economy and they can be welcomed safely. It's especially good news for our airlines who need to fill their seats across the Atlantic."

The move follows Boris Johnson telling LBC that a travel corridor between the UK and US that allows people to "come freely in a way that they normally do" was being considered.

He said the US is a "massively important partner" for Britain, so ministers want people to be able to travel between the countries as freely as possible.

"We want people to be able to come from the US freely in a way that they normally do. We’re talking to them the whole time," he told the station.

"At the moment we’re dealing with a Delta wave, the US is dealing with a Delta wave, but be assured that we are on it the whole time. As soon as we have something to say about travel corridors you’ll be hearing from us."

Currently, anyone who has been fully vaccinated in the UK does not need to isolate when travelling from countries on the amber list, apart from France. However, that exemption did not apply to people outside of Britian.

Last week, millions of US citizens were warned not to travel to the UK due to rising Covid-19 cases.

Two US government agencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US State Department each raised the alert levels for the UK to their highest levels - level four - on 19 July.

It had been at level 3 since May, at which it advises travellers to be fully vaccinated before travelling to the UK and recommends that unvaccinated travellers should avoid all non-essential travel.

The CDC raised its level to the highest alert warning against all travel, saying: "Because of the current situation in the United Kingdom, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants."

Last week, Labour wrote to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urging him to provide "clarity" for those double jabbed outside the UK amid continued confusion.

A letter from shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon asked what progress had been made in "assessing how many countries accept the NHS app as proof of someone’s Covid or vaccine status?"

It also questioned if any assessment had been made over the rules for UK citizens living overseas, "particularly those who have already received an approved vaccine outside of the UK?"

Last Monday, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng stood by the policy which means businessmen and women who are vaccinated abroad will have to quarantine.

Labour demanded answers on the issue, with the shadow health secretary telling LBC he raised it months ago and the government hadn't tackled the problem, adding that it was an issue in the system "that needs to be resolved".

Appearing on Call the Cabinet on LBC, Mr Kwarteng said: "We've got to be very cautious. We're very protective of communities here. We want to be extra safe so that people can be protected here."