The UK Government has today announced that passengers arriving from Amber countries who have been fully vaccinated in Europe and the USA, will not have to quarantine when entering England, as part of a range of new measures designed to drive forward the reopening of international travel, as part of the second Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint review.
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From 4am on 2nd August 2021, passengers who are fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) - from EU Member States, European Free Trade Association countries and the European microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City - or in the USA with vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or in the Swiss vaccination programme, will be able to travel to England without having to quarantine or take a day eight test on arrival.
Amber arrivals who have been fully vaccinated in the USA and European countries will still be required to complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before day two after arrival. Separate rules will continue to apply for those arriving from France. Those vaccinated in the US will also need to provide proof of US residency. Passengers from all countries cannot travel to the UK unless they have completed a passenger locator form.
Following the close monitoring of epidemiological evidence, gained through the restart of the domestic cruise industry earlier this year, the UK government has also confirmed the go ahead for international cruise sailings to restart from England in line with Public Health England guidance. International cruise travel advice will be amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own safety abroad.
To further support the safe restart of international cruise travel, the government and cruise industry have signed a breakthrough memorandum of understanding (MoU) to help the industry build back from COVID-19 while protecting British nationals from future pandemic-related disruption.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy.
"We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours."
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Our vaccination programme is building a wall of defence against this virus so we can safely enjoy our freedoms again, with 7 in 10 adults in the UK now double jabbed.
"By reopening quarantine-free travel for travellers who have been fully vaccinated in European countries and the USA, we’re taking another step on the road to normality which will reunite friends and families and give UK businesses a boost."
The Government are also relaxing the testing requirements for certain critical workers, who by the nature of their work do not mix with the public or leave their vehicles helping free up running times by removing undue burdens.
All measures announced today will be kept under review and be guided by the latest data. Public health remains our top priority, and we will not hesitate to act should the data show that countries risk ratings have changed.
Travel continues to be different this summer and while some restrictions remain in place passengers should expect their experience to be different and may face longer wait times than they are used to – although the government is making every effort to speed up queues safely. We will continue to rollout upgrades to our e-gates over the summer to automate checks for health requirements, with many e-gates already in operation and more to be added over the coming months to increase automated checks on passengers at airports.
Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA) said: “This is a significant and welcome step forward that will be a boost to airports, our inbound visitor economy and the many families who will be able to reunite after a long and difficult period.
“However, there remain considerable challenges for our airports and aviation sector and our road to recovery remains long. We urge the Government to work with industry to continue opening up travel by putting more countries on the green list, reduce the cost of testing and provide the much-needed financial support for the difficult months ahead.
“Our airports continue to be hit by the impacts of the pandemic and held back by an overly cautious approach to international travel. Without sector specific financial support our national recovery will be stalled and thousands of jobs put at risk.”
Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said: “This is welcome news for those wishing to travel to the UK although the changes may have come too late for many to make bookings this Summer.
“The cost of PCR tests remains prohibitive for many and should be replaced by cheaper, quicker lateral flow tests for those who have been double vaccinated, as many other countries already rely on. Double vaccinated travellers to designated green countries should also not have to take any tests at all.
“The EU and US aviation sectors opened up earlier and are recovering significantly faster, which is why European travel was already at 50% of pre-pandemic levels in June compared to just 16% in the UK, despite our more advanced double vaccination rates. We will continue to lose out on trade, tourism and other economic benefits unless the Government removes the remaining unnecessary barriers to travel.
“Travellers also need a stable traffic light list that provides more certainty and plenty of notice of any changes to help restore their confidence to book.”