Government ‘working on’ plans to allow amber list holiday travel

·2-min read
Venice is on the amber list
Venice is on the amber list

Government ministers have confirmed they are “working on” plans to facilitate holidays in “amber list” countries.

The move would see the mandatory 10-day quarantine for travellers upon their return to the UK scrapped in favour of testing – but only for those who are fully vaccinated.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the government is investigating how this could be achieved safely.

He claimed he is “in favour of moving forward in this area”, and swapping the current quarantine restrictions for some sort of daily testing instead.

“This hasn't been clinically advised yet – we're working on it,” he told Sky News.

Reports citing “government sources” have been circulating that the new measures will come into effect in August.

However, Mr Hancock refused to be drawn on the matter of timings, saying only: “We'll get there when it's safe to do so.“

Currently, vaccination status has no bearing on the rules for inbound travellers arriving in the UK.

The government introduced a “traffic light” system for travel in May, classifying countries as red, amber or green according to risk of coronavirus reimportation, with restrictions of varying severity to match.

The vast majority of the world’s countries have been put in the amber category, including the US and most of Europe, necessitating a total of three Covid tests for travellers entering the UK, plus a 10-day quarantine at home.

Various other countries have already scrapped quarantine, and in some cases even testing requirements, for fully vaccinated visitors.

For example, Brits travelling to Greece need not present a pre-departure test if they can show proof of full vaccination.

It follows the news that fewer than one in 200 people returning to the UK from “amber list” countries are testing positive for Covid-19.

Data from NHS Test and Trace also revealed that no virus variants of concern were found in any of the travellers entering the country from the 167 destinations currently graded “amber” by the British government.

Between 20 May and 9 June, just 89 of the 23,465 passengers arriving from amber countries tested positive for the virus.

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