TOPLINE The U.K. is working towards dropping mandatory quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from other countries, transport minister Grant Shapps announced on Friday, a move that follows an earlier rule tweak that had extended the privilege only to fully vaccinated U.K. residents.
In an interview with Sky News on Friday morning, Shapps said the country’s ministers are “actively working” on proposals that would extend the quarantine exemption to travelers from the so-called “amber list” or medium risk countries if they are fully vaccinated.
While Shapps did not provide a timeline for the implementation of this move, he suggested that people from the European Union—which has a unified digital vaccine passport system—could be granted this exemption before those from the U.S.—where such a system does not exist.
Shapps indicated that the policy would accommodate all vaccines that have been certified by the World Health Organisation, including ones that have not been approved for use in the U.K.
The minister warned that in case of a worsening outbreak, an amber-list country could move to the red list of higher risk nations, meaning all incoming travelers regardless of their vaccination status would be required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel.
The U.K. government is set to lift most of its remaining Covid-19 restrictions on July 19, in what it has begun calling “freedom day.” After being forced to delay reopening for a month due to a fresh outbreak fuelled by the more infectious delta variant of the coronavirus, the government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been steadfast on fully reopening the country later this month. As part of the move, Shapps announced on Thursday that British travelers who plan to visit amber list countries will not be required to quarantine on arrival in England if they have been fully vaccinated by the U.K.’s National Health Service. The government considers a person to be fully vaccinated 14-days after they have received their second jab.
By Siladitya Ray, Forbes Staff