The UK government on Wednesday announced that passengers who have been fully vaccinated in Europe* and the United States of America will not have to quarantine when entering England from amber list countries.
The decision is as part of a range of new measures designed by the UK to continue to drive forward the reopening of international travel. Currently, only fully vaccinated British travelers can avoid quarantine when arriving from amber list countries (except France).
“We’re helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK Family,” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote on twitter.
It is reminded that Greece and a number of countries in Europe are on the UK’s amber list.
From Monday, August 2, at 4am, passengers who are fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) 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 8 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 2 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.
Click here for all ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’ list rules for entering England.
‘Now is a good time to open up’
“We are thankfully seeing a reduction in cases… Now is a good time to open up and we look forward to that being reciprocated in time and particularly for the US market for Britons to be able to fly there,” Shapps said to Sky News.
The UK’s announcement comes one day after the White House confirmed that it will keep all existing Covid-19 travel restrictions in place due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant.
WTTC: US should reciprocate
According to the Senior VP of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Virginia Messina, the full benefit of the UK’s decision will show if the US responds with a similar move.
Applauding the UK’s announcement, Messina underlined that it throws a vital lifeline to airlines and businesses throughout the tourism sector, by helping to restore much-need transatlantic travel and essential links to the EU.
“However, unless it’s reciprocal and the US responds with a similar move, we won’t see the full benefit… We urgently need internationally coordinated action to reopen borders to safe international travel for all visitors who are fully vaccinated or can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test,” she said.
IATA: UK announcement raises questions
On its part, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that the announcement is an important step in the UK’s recovery, but also raises the following questions about next steps on the road to restoring the country’s connectivity:
– Why is the scope restricted to US and EU instead of open to all those who have been vaccinated?
– Why are travelers forced to test twice, the second time using expensive PCR tests?
– What’s the plan to enable unvaccinated people who have tested negative to travel without quarantine?
– And when will the US reciprocate?
Moreover, the UK on Wednesday also confirmed the go ahead for international cruise sailings to restart from England in line with Public Health England guidance.
* EU Member States, European Free Trade Association countries and the European microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City.