Fully-vaccinated travellers from so-called ‘amber’ countries in the European Union, as well as the United States, could soon join jabbed British travellers in avoiding quarantine when they arrive in the United Kingdom.
Westminster’s Covid operations committee was meeting on Wednesday morning, with the BBC reporting that a decision was expected “shortly”, according to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
Travellers who received both of their Covid-19 jabs in the UK do not currently need to quarantine on arrival in Britain, if they are travelling from countries on the governments ‘amber’ and ‘green’ lists.
But travellers who are not vaccinated are required to self-quarantine at home or at their place of accommodation for 10 days, and return two Covid-19 tests on days two and eight of their isolation.
The exemption for fully-vaccinated travellers does not currently extend to those who received their immunisations outside of the UK, meaning passengers on the same flight with equivalent Covid-19 vaccine status face hugely different requirements on reaching the UK border.
A trial held by Britain’s two major airlines with support from Heathrow Airport recently lent support for such a move, after British Airways and Virgin Atlantic said 99% of the 250 passengers involved in the trial had their vaccine status correctly verified away from the border, before their flights.
Of the two who had their documents rejected, one had their second dose less than 14 days before departure, and the other had a mismatch between the names on their passport and vaccine certificate.
“The UK is emerging from the worst effects of the health pandemic, but is falling behind its EU rivals in international trade by being slow to remove restrictions,” said Heathrow chief executive officer John Holland-Kaye earlier in the week.
“Replacing PCR tests with lateral flow tests and opening up to EU and US vaccinated travellers at the end of July will start to get Britain’s economic recovery off the ground.”