The UK has announced that fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from the EU and US will no longer have to quarantine on arrival in England. The new rule kicks in next Monday, the 2nd of August.
Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport confirmed the move on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
The rules have been announced for England, but the devolved nations are expected to follow suit and update their rules imminently.
The change is in addition to the UK’s existing traffic light system which determines travel restrictions based on whether a country is classed as red, amber or green .
Currently the majority of countries – such as the US and many European countries including Spain, Italy and Germany – are on the UK’s amber list. It was announced a couple of weeks ago that fully vaccinated UK citizens returning from amber countries would no longer have to self-isolate, except those coming from France.
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.
What are the UK’s travel restrictions?
Up to now, all UK arrivals needed to show a negative PCR test, fill in a passenger locator form and quarantine for 10 days, or 5 days if they tested negative on day 5.
The UK’s traffic light system has been heavily criticised by the travel industry, with some saying the country has fallen behind the rest of Europe in opening up. Research from the World Travel and Tourism Council suggests the UK economy is losing £639 million (€750 million) a day due to the lack of inbound tourism.
What about the Delta variant?
In the past few months, the UK has become something of a hotbed for the Delta variant that has rapidly spread throughout Europe. On this basis, even with the rule change, US authorities are advising against travel to the UK and the country’s borders remain closed to UK arrivals.
However, the UK does have one of the highest vaccination rates of any country in the world. So although Delta cases are high, hospitalisations and deaths are starting to stabilise.
UK 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.