UK Scraps Quarantine For Vaccinated Travelers From Amber Countries

The UK Government is to introduce new rules meaning that fully vaccinated travelers coming from amber countries will not have to quarantine when arriving in the country. The rules will come into force on July 19th, widely known in England as freedom day, as most domestic COVID-19 restrictions will end.

transatlantic travel corridor
The United Kingdom’s Government has revealed that fully vaccinated travelers from Amber countries can avoid quarantine. Photo: Getty Images.

The past 18 months have been incredibly challenging for the UK travel industry. However, the past half a year has been particularly challenging. For much of 2021, non-essential travel from the UK was prohibited. Even when this rule was relaxed, most travelers still faced a mandatory quarantine period.

Quarantine to end

The UK Government is ending quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers from amber list countries. However, a range of tests will still be required. The rules effectively mean that if a traveler is considered fully vaccinated, they will be treated as if they have flown from a green list country and not an amber list country.

This means that those arriving in the country will need to take at least a rapid test before departure, along with a day two PCR test. The day eight PCR test requirement will be dropped, as is the case with green list countries.

Passengers are considered vaccinated 14 days after their last shot. Photo: Getty Images

While anybody aged 12 or over can get the COVID-19 vaccination in Germany, the United Kingdom is not offering the vaccine to those under 18. This would create complications for vaccinated parents traveling with unvaccinated children. To counter this, those under 18 won’t have to isolate or take the day eight test.

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Who does the guidance apply to?

The new rules will apply to anybody considered to be fully vaccinated. You are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of the Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Pfizer/BioNTech jab in the UK. For those taking the Johnson & Johnson Janssen jab, this status is acquired 14 days after the single shot.

According to reporting by the BBC, Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Minister, revealed that vaccination status would be proved by the “COVID Pass” function on the NHS app or through a letter issued by the NHS. It wasn’t immediately clear whether foreign certificates such as the WHO’s yellow book or the EU’s Digital COVID Pass would be accepted for travel.

United Kingdom, fully vaccinated, Quarantine
The move will be welcomed by UK airlines who should be able to start their recoveries. Photo: Getty Images

Commenting on the announcement, British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said,

“We’re pleased to see this common sense approach which is already working safely for many other countries, but there is more work to do… the Government needs to quickly extend this to all vaccinated travellers, agree a reciprocal deal with the US, add more countries to the ‘green’ list and reduce the need for unnecessary, expensive tests.”

What do you make of the ability to travel to the UK avoiding quarantine? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!