England to scrap quarantine for fully jabbed EU and US visitors

Senior UK Government ministers decided to back the plan at a meeting on Wednesday.

Neil Lancefield
Wednesday 28 July 2021 22:47
England is to allow US and EU travellers who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus to enter without the need to quarantine (Steve Parsons/PA)
England is to allow US and EU travellers who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus to enter without the need to quarantine (Steve Parsons/PA)

England is to allow US and EU travellers who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus to enter without the need to quarantine.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that the new rules will be in place from 4am on Monday August 2.

The Cabinet minister said: “We’re helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK.”

The Scottish Government has announced the rule change will apply to fully vaccinated EU and US visitors to Scotland from Monday.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Government said it “regrets” the move to remove quarantine requirements for EU and US visitors to England, but added it would be “ineffective” to have different rules for Wales.

Ministers in Northern Ireland will consider their position on the change at Thursday’s meeting of the powersharing executive. Health Minister Robin Swann will propose that the region also adopts the rule change from Monday.

Currently, only travellers who have received two doses of a vaccine in the UK are permitted to enter the UK from an amber country – such as the US and most of the EU – without self-isolating for 10 days, except those returning from France.

But ministers have decided to extend the exemption in England to those vaccinated in the US and the EU.

Mr Shapps continued: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel, and today is another important step forward.

“Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid added: “Our vaccination programme is building a wall of defence against this virus so we can safely enjoy our freedoms again, with seven in 10 adults in the UK now double jabbed.

“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.”

Travellers will be required to take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on or before the second day after their arrival.

In addition to the EU, the new rules also include arrivals from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and Vatican City.

It will pump vital cash into the travel economy, and help salvage the rest of the summer

Paul Charles, The PC Agency

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the Government had made “the right decision”.

He said: “We will now work with colleagues in the industry to boost UK trade, reunite family and friends, and generate billions in new tourist income.”

Sean Doyle, British Airways chief executive, said the move “will allow us to reunite loved ones and get global Britain back in business”.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told the PA news agency: “The significance of this decision can’t be overestimated.

“It will pump vital cash into the travel economy, and help salvage the rest of the summer.”

This new arrangement will be carefully monitored by clinicians and kept under close review as we seek to put Scotland firmly on the path to recovery

Scotland's Transport Secretary Michael Matheson

On the rule change in Scotland, Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to travel to Scotland under this significant relaxation of international travel measures, providing a boost for the tourism sector and wider economy while ensuring public health is protected.

“This new arrangement will be carefully monitored by clinicians and kept under close review as we seek to put Scotland firmly on the path to recovery – but people should continue to think very carefully about travelling, especially given the prevalence and unpredictable nature of variants of concern.”

Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social services in the Welsh Government, said: “We regret the UK Government’s proposals to further remove quarantine requirements. However, as we share an open border with England it would be ineffective to introduce separate arrangements for Wales. Therefore, we will be aligning with the other UK administrations and implementing this decision for Wales.

“We look to the UK Government to provide assurances that processes will be in place to ensure those travelling in to the UK have been fully vaccinated. Also, in doing so, we will continue to press the UK Government for reassurances that it will be maintaining consistent and robust PCR surveillance – including pre-departure tests, PCR testing on day two and the genomic sequencing of results as one mitigation against importing vaccine escape variants.”

No reciprocal deal has been reached with the US, meaning UK visitors are still banned from entering due to coronavirus fears.

Travellers from France to the UK will continue to be required to enter quarantine.

Mr Shapps also announced that international cruises will be permitted to restart from ports in England.