England ends quarantine for fully NHS-vaccinated travellers from ‘amber list' countries

Coronavirus in Spain figures (15 July), #British, July 8, 2021

Latest: Coronavirus in Spain figures (15 July)

The UK’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has said that fully NHS-vaccinated adults will no longer need to isolate when arriving from amber list countries and that children under-18 will also not need to self-isolate. The new rules initially apply to travellers returning to England, because health matters are devolved. Britons living overseas will not be able to prove their vaccine status if they have been jabbed abroad.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Shapps said the UK government wanted to work with devolved administrations ‘to ensure we achieve our shared objectives of safe, sustainable and robust return to international travel’.

Whilst Shapps said UK travellers would be able to ‘visit their family and friends who they’ve not seen for such a long time’, the UK government has said it would not accept any proof of vaccination apart from the NHS app or certificate.

The move has already provoked a backlash from UK citizens living abroad who have been vaccinated in their countries of residence, often with the same vaccines used by the NHS.

The UK’s Department for Transport has said the rule is ‘phase one’ and that work was on-going to also recognise foreign certification.

Shapps said the changes would ‘prioritise those vaccinated in the UK’, adding, ‘we want to welcome international visitors back to the UK and are working to extend our approach to vaccinated passengers from important markets and holiday destinations later this summer, such as the United States and the EU’.

The rule change will take effect from 19 July, opening up numerous European tourist destinations such as Spain, Portugal, France and Greece to travellers – even though these countries could impose their own quarantine rules on arrivals from England.

Travellers will still have to take pre-departure Covid tests and also a PCR test on day two of their return, but will no longer need to take a day eight test. It means the requirements for England’s green and amber list countries are the same for people who are fully NHS-vaccinated.

ALSO READ: New requirements for UK arrivals to Spain from Friday 2 July – full details

Full vaccination will mean 14 days having passed since the final dose of a vaccine. Children under 18 arriving from amber list countries will not have to isolate on return.

Shapps said 30 countries and territories were also recognising the UK’s vaccine certification as part of entry requirements and were either accepting proof of vaccination letters or the NHS app.

He said: ‘We continue to encourage people to take up the vaccine when offered not only to protect themselves, but also to restore previous freedoms, more safely.’

Shapps said travellers should still expect delays and disruptions, that border controls would mean longer waits, adding that ‘travel will not be the same as it was’.

ALSO READ: The EU Digital Covid Certificate has officially started – full details

TRAVEL UPDATE: From MONDAY 19 JULY 4am #British fully vaccinated adults will not need to isolate from amber list countries 🚦 including those on clinical trials – another step to fully reopening international travel. Children under 18 will not need to self-isolate.

— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) July 8, 2021

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