In a move that reignites hope for summer holidays, from July 19 any UK resident who has had both coronavirus vaccines for more than two weeks will no-longer have to do ten days at home after travelling to amber destinations such as Portugal and France.
Announcing the news in the House of Commons, Grant Shapps said that people will still have to take a test three days before they return and a PCR test on or before day two.
He explained: “In essence, this means that for fully vaccinated travellers the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same.”
The same rules will apply to people under 18 who will also be exempted.
Mr Shapps went on: “Children under 18 returning from amber list countries will not have to isolate on their return nor take a day eight test. Children between the ages of five and 10 will only need to take a day two test – and, as before, children four and under will be exempt from all testing and isolation requirements.”
From July 19, guidance telling people not to travel to countries on the amber list will be removed, which Mr Shapps said “means people will be able to travel for leisure, business and to see family in amber list countries.”
Praising the vaccination roll-out, he added: “I don’t underestimate for a second just how difficult the last 16 months have been for those who have not been able to travel to see their families, and the tourism and for the aviation sector itself, of course, and no minister, let alone Transport Secretary, would want to ever curtail freedom and ask people not to travel.
“But protecting public health has rightly been and will continue to be our overriding priority of this Government, and that’s why we introduced some of the toughest border measures in the world.”
MPs will be updated “in due course” about when rules may change for vaccinated passengers from other destinations such as the EU and the United States.
The travel industry has welcomed the news, with Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye calling it a “much needed boost to millions of people across Britain looking forward to a more normal summer”.
However he added: ““But the job isn’t done. To really kickstart the UK’s economic recovery, global Britain needs to get trading again.
“US business can get to the EU, but the UK remains cut off.
“The UK should open up travel to fully vaccinated people from more countries – particularly our key partners in the US – by the end of July."
This is the latest in a series of announcements this week about how rules are expected to change in England from July 19, when it is hoped that the country can move to step 4 of the coronavirus roadmap.