New quarantine rules for travellers come into effect

Tougher restrictions for arrivals from France and Spain’s Balearic islands to the UK

<p>Airport watch: Jonathan Swain of Good Morning Britain reporting from Heathrow</p>

Airport watch: Jonathan Swain of Good Morning Britain reporting from Heathrow

Thousands of travellers arriving in the UK are encountering drastic changes in self-isolation rules.

The main change for British passengers who have been fully vaccinated by the NHS is that they no longer need quarantine for 10 days when arriving from “amber list” countries – such as Spain, Italy, Greece and the US.

The first beneficiaries were aboard British Airways flight 262 from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, which touched down just 33 minutes after the 4am change in rules. Two more flights from amber list locations, Lagos and New York, had arrived by 6am.

The first ferry to arrive from an amber list location was Stena Line from Hook of Holland to Harwich, which docked at 6.30am.

Passengers must still provide a negative coronavirus test result before departure to the UK, and pre-book a post-arrival PCR test.

But over the weekend, thousands of unvaccinated holidaymakers scrambled to return from Spain’s Balearic islands. Arrivals from Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza were quarantine-free until 4am – when they were moved to the amber list.

At Gatwick, an easyJet flight arrived from Ibiza just three hours ahead of the deadline, while Jet2 from Palma touched down at Manchester airport a few minutes before midnight.

Hundreds of thousands of British travellers in France, or planning to go there, learnt late on Friday that vaccinated arrivals to the UK will still have to quarantine.

The government announced that the existing amber list rules – requiring self-isolation – would continue to apply to returning passengers from France, because of fears about the possible importation of the “Beta variant” first identified in South Africa.

The “amber plus” rule also applies to anyone driving through French territory to the Channel ports – though Eurostar passengers from Amsterdam and Brussels are exempt, because trains pass through France without stopping.

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