England Scraps Quarantine for Fully Vaccinated EU, US Visitors

Fully vaccinated people from the US and the EU will be allowed to travel to England in an effort boost the travel industry.
July 29, 2021 | 08:34
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The new rule applies to England but is widely expected to be followed by the rest of the UK shortly [Henry Nicholls/Reuters]
The new rule applies to England but is widely expected to be followed by the rest of the UK shortly. Photo: Reuters

England will allow fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union and United States to arrive without quarantine from next week, in a huge and long-awaited boost for airlines and travel companies.

We’re helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted. The policy will come into force from 4:00am (0300 GMT) on August 2.

The UK’s travel industry has criticised the government for being too slow to open up, saying it has squandered its lead in the global vaccine rollout and given the EU a headstart in attracting tourists, Al Jazeera reported.

Travellers with US- and EU-approved vaccines will not have to quarantine. Lifting the same requirement for fully vaccinated Britons returning from medium-risk countries in July helped to kick-start a travel recovery.

The new rule applies to England but is widely expected to be followed by the rest of the UK shortly.

Airlines, such as British Airways, and the UK’s biggest airport Heathrow, weighed down by cumulative pandemic losses of $4bn, welcomed the move but said more was needed if the industry was to recover from the collapse in demand.

DAVID CLIFF/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
The policy will come into force from 4:00am (0300 GMT) on August 2. DAVID CLIFF/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Procedures for vaccinated travellers

British authorities say fully vaccinated travellers from amber countries in Europe and in the US will still need to "complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival."

"Passengers from all countries cannot travel to the UK unless they have completed a Passenger Locator Form," the Department for Transport was cited by euronews as saying.

What about cruises?

British authorities also gave their go-ahead on July 28 for international cruise sailings to restart from England.

"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," the Department for Transport said.

Who will benefit from the updated rules?

The change will be welcome news to the millions of UK citizens living abroad who have not been able to visit loved ones in the UK without quarantining.

Tourists and business travellers who want to visit the UK will also benefit, though they may find it difficult to find accommodation.

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,” said Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

Quarantine rules for travellers from France

The UK government has said it was keeping quarantine rules for travellers from France because of the presence of the Beta variant there, but French officials say the bulk of cases comes from the overseas island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

The UK will review the status of travellers from France at the end of next week. French officials have complained about British travel restrictions for France since a last-minute decision on July 19 to keep them, Al Jazeera said.

A politician from President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party called July 28’s decision “absurd”.

England Scraps Quarantine for Fully Vaccinated EU, US Visitors
The change will be welcome news to the millions of UK citizens living abroad who have not been able to visit loved ones in the UK without quarantining. Photo: CNN

Travel rules for non-EU and non-US citizens

As for the rest of the world, the rules continue to change frequently. For example, Australia is on the UK’s green list but its borders remain closed. Hong Kong and Singapore, too, are on the green list, meaning inbound passengers to the UK need not quarantine regardless of vaccination status.

Amber-listed countries must currently undergo testing and a 10-day quarantine upon arrival to the UK. This includes Canada, China, Japan and Russia alongside the majority of European countries.

Meanwhile, travellers from red list countries are only able to enter the UK if they are a British or Irish National or resident.

You can find out more on the UK government website, according to euronews.

US not likely to reciprocate

While the UK government’s decision will ease the barriers to travel from the US, the Biden administration is not likely to reciprocate any time soon, Bloomberg said.

Last week, the US government advised Americans to avoid traveling to the UK. because of a surge in coronavirus infections.

We want people to be able to come from the US freely in a way that they normally do. We’re talking to them the whole time,” Johnson said in an interview with LBC radio on July 28. “At the moment we’re dealing with a delta wave, the US is dealing with a delta wave, but be assured that we are on it the whole time.” /.

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