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Government will remove Amber List quarantine for vaccinated and their children from August – report

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The Sun has an exclusive report tonight (picked up by sister paper The Times, which means they are probably not making it up!) that the Government has agreed to lift travel restrictions for the ‘double vaccinated’ along with unvaccinated children under 16.

‘From August’ – no exact date is given – anyone will be able to visit an Amber List destination without the need for quarantine on their return.

You can read the article here. The Times version is behind a paywall.

Government will remove Amber List quarantine for vaccinated and their children from August

There is no clarification on what sort of testing will be required, but presumably the need for a ‘Day 2’ PCR test will remain.

The Sun claims that an announcement may be made on Thursday to allow airlines and travellers to make plans. Thursday is the next date for an update on which countries will appear on the ‘no quarantine required’ Green LIst.

The Sun implies that the August date is a done deal, and the only speculative element is whether ministers will decide to pull it forward to 19th July. This would coincide with the start of the school holidays in England.

Adults will only be allowed to avoid quarantine if they had their second vaccination at least 14 days before travel.

The big hole in the plan, clearly, is what happens if you have children aged 16-18. This age group is too young for vaccination, but will also not be exempt from 10 days of home quarantine if this story is accurate.

It is possible – and this is my hypothesis, not from The Sun – that the Government is trying to head off any fall-out from the ‘day of action’ planned by the travel industry tomorrow. This will include a protest on College Green at Westminster.

The Government has also been facing increased pressure from its own MPs. Huw Merriman, Conservative chairman of the House of Commons Transport Committee, said today that the approach to overseas travel was ‘far too cautious’.

It is also likely that press pictures of German tourists on the beaches of Spain and Portugal has started to feed back into pressure from voters for more freedoms in the UK.

To confirm, this story – whilst currently the top headline on The Times website (The Sun hides it under their England football coverage) – is still just ‘informed rumour’ ie a Government leak. Let’s see what happens on Thursday.

Comments (161)

  • BJ says:

    Wish they would just go the whole hog now and scrap the testing, and other rules. Nearly everybody’s vaccinated, we need to let loose and see how it works out, press ahead with research and plans for boosters. If it all goes to pot then so what, we can get back to the drawing board, have another lockdown in late autumn to free us up again for Xmas. John Cole will be turning in his grave at all the pussyfoting around this government does.

    • Harry T says:

      Agreed, the government is taking the opposite approach to their previous recklessness, and now being far too cautious.

    • Rhys says:

      It’s on the cards from the 19th according to The Times.

      • Anna says:

        Good – if this comes off I will be having 2 weeks in a luxury apartment in Tenerife in (peak) August with flights, accommodation and car hire coming in at £2500 for 4 of us!

  • Dave says:

    Not to ask a terribly specific question but do we think that’s 14 days between vaccination and outward travel, or 14 days between vaccination and your flight back to the UK?

    • Florian says:

      I have exactly the same question.. We are good if it’s 14 days before flying back but will have to cancel otherwise 🙁

      • Dave says:

        Same! 14 days before your arrival to the UK would make the most sense…

        Just remember what is on the amber list now could change by August so as ever don’t count too many eggs etc 🙂

        • Florian says:

          🙂 we are not cancelling our UK holiday just yet 🙂

          • Rob says:

            You will do, because the price will crash down next week so you will be cancelling and rebooking.

            Those people who paid £1400 per night to sleep in a tent in someones garden in Cornwall will be front of the queue I reckon …

      • Rob says:

        Presumably before departure given that you are meant to be protected when you visit the covid hell holes of Malta etc …..

      • Mark says:

        Depends on where you are going. The UK government clearly has no say in the entry rules for other countries so what we’re talking about here is return to the UK. If the required gap is 14 days, it will be 14 days before return. However, the country you are travelling to may have it’s own requirements, e.g. Greece (where we are currently) requires either a negative test, or that you are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before your outbound travel.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Since lots of countries are starting to recognise 2nd jab + 14 days for less restrictive entry ie to European green pass introduction from July 1st I would assume 2nd jab+14 days to ensure a smooth entry into your destination and return here.

      However, I think you’ll still be taking an LFD test before you return.

    • AJA says:

      I think it’s 14 days before departure from UK.

      • ThinkSquare says:

        It’s got to be at least 14 days before outward travel. Otherwise you are still at risk of catching covid while abroad

        • Dave says:

          Yes that makes sense actually. Comments elsewhere on this thread that turning up for your second dose after four weeks can yield good results at walk-in centres give me hope…

        • Mark says:

          But that’s not the point of the quarantine rules, and besides you’re rather more likely to catch it before travelling and take it with you than catch it whilst in many amber destinations now, especially if you live in a hotspot area. The rules also have to apply to inbound travel, as well as UK residents who have been overseas for some time, so a pre-travel requirement makes little sense.

          There is also the point that the vaccines are less effective at protecting you from contracting it than against serious illness so I would expect a testing requirement to remain for the foreseeable future, vaccinated or not.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            If the vaccine protects from severe disease and death what’s with the obsession with cases?

  • Drennan Duplooy says:

    They leak to the press – not formally announce now. Says it all.

    • K says:

      In political circles, it’s called a “sniff test”. This way they see the reaction and gives them the chance to tweak it. Pathetic in my opinion.

      • Mark says:

        Which just highlights the extent to which the decision making is driven by politics just as much as ‘the science’….

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The leak is to make sure everyone keeps turning up for their jabs.

      Hancock yesterday

      “We’re working on plans to essentially allow the vaccine to bring back some of the freedoms that have had to be restricted to keep people safe.

      “After all, that’s the whole purpose of the vaccination programme, that’s why it’s so important that every adult goes out and gets the jab.”

  • Tracey says:

    Vaccine centres are allowed to give spare Pfizer vaccines at the end of the day to those aged 16 or over.
    The rules still state that we can’t give 2nd vaccines until 8 weeks after the first, unless there are spares.
    Spares are literally the vaccines made up from a vial that needed to be opened for eligible patients, so would be less that 6 if things have been well managed.

    • Yuff says:

      There were 2 left when I walked in and got my 2nd jab 4 weeks ago 😀
      At some point there should be a benefit to double vaccinated people, aside from the obvious protection the vaccine gives, travel being one of them. There is plenty of capacity in the nhs to test those who have not been able to get their jabs, due to the age restrictions, and could easily be accommodated with free tests.

  • Freddy says:

    Guess there has to be a window for travel before the autumn lockdown which Boris has already hinted at

  • Jonathan says:

    The sun makes up all kinds of stories just to get people to go their website or buy their newspapers, there’ve been many instances where they’ve been faced no alternative but to pay out tens of thousands to victims of people they’ve published false stories about

    • Jonathan says:

      This won’t be fabricated, it’s been “leaked” deliberately so they can assess the public reaction before making a formal announcement.

      We have a populist government who do whatever will play out best in the opinion polls, hence the constant flip flopping & generally poor outcomes we’ve had on everything Covid related (vaccines excepted).

      It’s not the majority opinion here clearly but amongst Tory voters (& wider electorate) the current travel restrictions have actually had solid support. It’s only recently the needle has started moving in the other direction

    • Rob says:

      True, but as The Times ran it too we assume it is a Government planted story.

    • ash says:

      Don’t believe then. We will all book our holidays . See ya…….

  • Liam says:

    The Mail (I know, I know) also reporting similar.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9714383/Blueprint-holiday-lift-Ministers-poised-end-amber-list-curbs-July-19.html

    The Mail can also reveal that Government scientists have approved Spain’s Balearic Islands for green list status. This means quarantine restrictions for travellers there could be lifted even sooner, provided ministers agree the change when they meet tomorrow.

    A Cabinet source told the Mail there was clear evidence vaccinations were working.

    ‘It’s all over, even if not everyone in Government has realised it yet,’ the source said. ‘The link between cases and deaths is broken. We know that double jabs work to protect people so why delay the resumption of international travel? There is no reason not to go ahead now – every day counts.’

    Tomorrow’s ministerial meeting on foreign travel is expected to be followed by a further session on Monday. Ministers are expected to sign off the plans to allow the double jabbed to travel to amber list countries without the need for quarantine on return.

    Downing Street is targeting August for the change. But ministers including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are pushing for curbs on international travel to be lifted from July 19. This would allow families and the battered travel sector to make the most of the summer.

    • Anna says:

      Balearics are insanely expensive in July and August!

      • Anna says:

        Though bizarrely, FCDO says Canaries are OK but not the Balearics just now …

        • Mark says:

          As I’ve commented previously this really undermines the whole FCDO advice system in my view. A lot has changed in the last month. The FCDO advice hasn’t.

          • tony says:

            I don’t think the FCDO advise has been changed since last year for places like the canaries and some Greek islands, has it? If you look at the waybackmachine archive you can see old versions of the FCDO site.

      • Margaret says:

        Booked 2 weeks sea view apartment (Marina) in Puerto Pollensa departing 3rd August, and 2 return business class flights (adding Amex 241) for £1600 total plus avios.
        It’s doable:)

  • TimM says:

    The UK Government has got itself into a total mess over traffic lights and jabs. For a supposedly libertarian Government that happens to have the highest vaccination rate of any major country on the planet, it is proving embarrassingly slow to give up its new powers over our lives. Now, the double-vaccinated will be allowed into the UK but their children must quarantine and all must have three private and pricey tests!

    As has been said, Covid-related deaths is now no. 24 in the UK charts of death from all causes. It is time to get real and balance risks with quality of life.

    I am hoping for a major relaxation on travel announced tomorrow, and I don’t just mean rearranging the proverbial deck chairs. I won’t hold my breath though.

    As for Huw Merriman, his politics were formed and fixed as a teenager so now represents the moderate, libertarian end of the Tory party compared the the ‘UK Trump’ mainstream. This is possibly the only time I have agreed with him on anything.

    • Andy says:

      Neither this Govt or Boris is particularly libertarian or liberal. The newspaper columnist mates of Boris write how it’s against his liberal instincts to do all of this. They’re confusing his liberal instincts about his life against what he does when he is in power. His mayoralty in London banned booze on trains etc

      Priti Patel is Home Secretary. Enough said.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Basically he’s just liberal with his little Brain …

      • TimM says:

        Andy, yes, I find Priti Patel like a grotesque caricature from one of French & Saunders breakfast programme pastiches, except without the intelligence or humour. The alternative candidates in her local constituency must be out devil-worshipers.

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