The UK government has today announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated.
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The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to 3 categories, as well as the green watchlist to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government’s green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health. India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved. The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list. They present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of COVID-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country. UK clinicians and scientists will remain in close contact with their counterparts in Spain to keep abreast of the latest data and picture of cases in Spain.
All changes announced today will come into effect at 4am on Sunday 8th August 2021 in England.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we’ve made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: "As we learn to live with this virus, we are continuing to take steps to safely reopen international travel based on the latest data and expert public health advice.
"The vaccines have already prevented around 60,000 deaths and 22 million infections in England and, with over 7 in 10 adults in the UK now double-jabbed, we are building a wall of defence against the disease.
"As well as moving more countries to the green list, today’s announcement also demonstrates the need for continued caution. Further countries have been added to the red list to help protect the success of our vaccine rollout from the threat of new variants."
All classification changes have been decided by ministers, informed by the latest data and analysis by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and wider public health considerations, to help the public understand the risks to public health of travelling to different destinations. All measures announced today are designed to give travellers and the travel sector more certainty, will be kept under review, and further action may be taken to protect public health.
ADS Chief Executive Kevin Craven said: “Successful vaccination programmes and international efforts to bring the pandemic under control are allowing freedom to travel to return. This week’s additions to the green list and new arrangements for vaccinated arrivals into the UK from the EU and US are welcome measures that build on this success.
“Flight numbers around the world have begun to rise from the lows seen over the last 18 months and aircraft production is expected to ramp up during the next two years, which boosts hope for the future and for restoring UK aerospace output to pre-crisis levels. However, there is still a long way to go to achieve a full recovery in the sector, with challenges remaining for many employers.”
Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association said: “The extension of the green list is a positive step forward and demonstrates that people can travel safely and with confidence. This announcement will be a boost to our airports, their employees and the local economies who depend on aviation and just as importantly to those who have been prevented from visiting friends and relatives.
“However, our airports continue to face a long road to recovery with passenger numbers remaining at historically low levels which continue to lag behind our European competitors. We urge the Government to not only continue to open up travel, but to tackle the sky-high cost of testing and to provide a much-needed tailored package of financial support to help our aviation industry through the challenging months ahead.
“Any extension to the green list is welcome, but we remain a long way off a full and meaningful restart of international travel and the Government must recognise this and provide the support that will protect our world class aviation industry and the thousands of jobs that remain at risk.”
Virginia Messina, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Senior Vice President and Acting CEO, said: “The entire UK Travel & Tourism sector, the many thousands of British travellers already in France, and those with future plans, will be breathing a sigh of relief now that returning fully jabbed Brits won’t need to quarantine, and that the confusing and disruptive amber plus list has been effectively abandoned.
“However, the requirement for fully-jabbed UK travellers to take expensive PCT tests will still deter many from travelling.
“We are disappointed that more destinations were not added to the green list. But the additions of India, Bahrain, Qatar, and in particular the UAE – a major winter sun destination – will provide a massive boost to Travel & Tourism businesses over the coming months.
“Once again, we call on the US government to open its borders to fully vaccinated UK visitors, a move that would have a massive economic benefit both here in the UK and across the Atlantic.”
Glyn Jones, CEO, London Southend Airport, said: “The update to the green list is welcome news and offers further confidence to passengers and those considering a trip abroad. London Southend Airport has seen passenger numbers increase in recent weeks and this is projected to continue. However, numbers remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
"Whilst we are pleased to see further destinations turning green, we continue to encourage government to provide clear and consistent messaging to the public, subsidise testing costs and collaborate with Europe for a unified approach."