Travellers returning to England from countries on the amber list who have been fully vaccinated will no longer need to self-isolate from 19 July, the UK transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced.
Shapps said, “I don’t underestimate for a second just how difficult the past 16 months have been for those who have not been able to travel, and for the travel and tourism and aviation sectors. No minister would want to curtail our freedoms and ask people not to travel but protecting public health has rightly been and will continue to be our overriding priority and that is why we have introduced some of the toughest border measures in the world.”
They will still be required to take a test three days before returning to demonstrate they are negative before they travel and a PCR test on or before day two after arrival.
Passengers will be required to indicate their vaccination status on their passenger locator form which transport operators will need to check before travel.
Health matters are devolved in the UK so different rules may apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Shapps said that the rules would apply initially only to those who have been vaccinated in the UK.
“We want to welcome international visitors back to the UK and are working to extend our approach to vaccinated passengers from important markets later this summer such as the United States and the EU. I will update the House in due course on how we approach vaccinated individuals from other countries.”
Shapps added, “The government has been working closely with international partners on restarting international travel safely through certification. I am pleased that more than 30 countries and territories are now recognising vaccine certification [via the NHS app or proof of vaccination letter] as part of their entry requirements.”
“This is not just about holidays but this is also about…helping businesses trade and grow and it is about supporting aviation sector which hundreds of thousands rely on, an industry which this government has backed with £7 billion of support through the pandemic. The only way to actually recover is to allow them to fly and for travel to resume again.”
The Government will also remove the guidance that people should not travel to countries on the amber list from the same date.
Shapps concluded, “I want to be clear that as we begin to ease restrictions travel will not be the same as before. People should continue to check Foreign Office travel advice, travel where possible outside busy weekend times and, importantly, they should expect that their experience at the border will be different because longer waiting times will be necessitated.”
The industry has called the re-opening a "vital kickstart" but says that the borders must reopen soon for travellers from other countries.