U.K. to Drop Quarantine for Britons Returning From Amber Countries

Fully vaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom will no longer have to quarantine upon returning home from amber list countries starting July 19. The news was announced by U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday, according to Reuters; he added these travelers must have been vaccinated by the National Health Service.

According to The New York Times, 68 percent of the population in the U.K. has been vaccinated with at least one dose, while just over half (51 percent) has been fully vaccinated. Under previous rules, those returning to the U.K. had to self-isolate for up to 10 days. Current amber list countries include major source markets for Britain, including Spain, France and the United States. Additionally, fully vaccinated travelers returning from amber list countries still need to take a COVID-19 test before they arrive, and then have another test on or before Day 2. Those under 18 are exempt from quarantine.

Note that the rule change only applies to amber list countries: For countries still on the U.K.'s red list, fully vaccinated Britons will still be required to self-isolate in a hotel upon arrival home.

The BBC reports that Northern Ireland plans to adopt the new rule starting July 26, while both Scotland and Wales are still considering whether to enforce the same rules.

Transport Secretary Shapps also noted that the country lists remain dynamic and a country that’s currently amber could be moved to the red list, meaning a trip would require quarantining upon return.

Virginia Messina, World Travel and Tourism Council senior vice president, said in a statement: "Holidaymakers and the travel and tourism sector will breathe a sigh of relief now that quarantine-free holidays have been given the green light by the government for those that have been fully jabbed.

“While it’s a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go before holidays become truly affordable—and accessible. The requirement for PCR tests to return from amber list countries will remain, pricing out many hard-working families from being able to take holidays abroad.”

Also note: The United States, as per its “Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease,” does not have a strict ban on Britons entering the country, rather a ban on travel “who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, the Federative Republic of Brazil, and the Republic of South Africa during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.”

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