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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)

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  • James says:

    That’s great news for travel.
    I probably would have kept a 2 day self isolation period in there until the PCR test results came back.
    Now just have to find a sensibly priced insurance and a holiday destination with a high rate of vaccination and very decent hospitals.

    • Rob says:

      Why?! The number of double vaccinated entering hospital with covid is literally single digits per day in the UK and our infection rates outpace the EU – and we have 70m people in the first place. You’ve been listening to too much Boris 🙂

  • patrick C says:

    It’s fun that actually some of tje readers here are so scared if returning travellers but see nonissue at all with running around domestically with no restrictions.

    It’s not VIP’s that cause the current surge but really people in ouns and travelling within tje UK with no test and no quarantaine.

    One would have hoped that after 2 years of pandemic this would slowly go into tje heads of people thay the virus does not care about borders… just sad to read…

    • Rob says:

      So what exactly do you plan to do on 19 July when all, literally all looking at the press today, restrictions on masks, distancing and home working are ended?!

      If you venture into the real world you will see that most places have already stopped caring. I haven’t been asked to do a single test and trace since I returned to the UK on Friday, despite at least 10 cafe, pub and restaurant visits, and our WeWork has given up on masks.

      • JP-MCO says:

        As it should be Rob. The rescinding of these restrictions is long overdue based on the data that is available.

      • Mrs_Fussy says:

        I haven’t even downloaded the test and trace app. There, I said it

      • Mark says:

        Quite. I’m predicting a surge in cases in the UK over the summer from people travelling around the country with no testing and behaving as if nothing ever happened. On the plus side it will be a really good test (and hopefully proof) of exactly how well the vaccines perform in protecting against hospitalisation and serious illness, but it really will make a nonsense out of most of the international travel restrictions.

        Hope I’m wrong, but if not it will be more likely entry restrictions to other countries that become the real blocker to international travel, at least while they catch up on their vaccinations.

    • Char Char says:

      Patrick you have no clue.

      • patrick C says:

        Simple epidemiology really.
        Testing people before and after a flight is a fraction of the risk than hanging out in a pub or travelling on the tube with no masks etc.

  • JP-MCO says:

    If it turns out the way it is being reported it sounds like they just copied and pasted the CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals. That would make perfect sense if they wanted to restart travel to the USA again. The USA was never going to make any moves towards reopening to the UK whilst their citizens arriving would have to quarantine for 10 days with all the testing that accompanied it. I might be wrong but it sounds like a huge step closer to reopening UK/USA travel.

    • marcw says:

      Lol, no.

      • JP-MCO says:

        I don’t know what this means (mainly because “Lol, no” isn’t much to go on) but I guess we will find out soon enough.

    • Char Char says:

      I really don’t see why to think that.

      • JP-MCO says:

        Essentially because the USA has already set out how it intends to treat fully vaccinated individuals within the CDC guidance. The US Administration would have almost certainly demanded assurances from the UK Government that they weren’t going to shift the USA to Amber/Red with 4 days notice and moreover if the US Administration intends to allow fully vaccinated individuals to enter the USA without quarantining then they would require reciprocity for US citizens travelling to the UK. If ever you wanted to establish a ‘travel corridor’ (or something similar) then the first thing to do would be to have near identical or very similar processes at each end of it. In a sense I can imagine that the conversations between the US / UK Governments went something along the lines of, “We’ve already set out how we intend to treat fully vaccinated individuals in the USA but you haven’t done that.” There was never going to be any movement on UK/US travel until the UK Government caught up and did that. I’m not saying it’s going to happen immediately but it’s definitely a crucial step towards restarting UK/US travel and I sense no desire by the US administration to keep travel bans in place long term, especially given that there are many places in the world that you can already travel from to the enter the USA.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Very one sided. Why shouldn’t we mandate they end their ban before we contemplate any other changes for their citizens …

          • Liam says:

            Because in reality that just isn’t how it works with the US.

  • Laura says:

    If it still requires multiple tests though, I’m still not sure I can be bothered!

  • Andrew says:

    All seems fair, although I do think it would be better if all unvaccinated children were restricted from leaving the country.

    Just think how amazing airports would be without under 12s, and it would be a massive long-term boost for the domestic holiday industry.

    • Rob says:

      Oddly, my 10 year old has never got drunk or started a fight in an airport or hassled a female passenger in all his years of flying.

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        But tantrums, Rob, tantrums…. There’s nothing more piercing than the wail of a child when you’re trying to get some shuteye 🙂

        • Anna says:

          Once your own child gets past that stage you’re just glad it’s someone else’s and you can feel a bit sorry for the parents.

    • tony says:

      I assume you’re being facetious, but given it’s illegal to take your kids out of school in term time, there’s not enough accommodation capacity in the UK to allow every family with school age kids to go away for more than three nights in the six week summer break, anyway. There’s something like 1 million hotel rooms/B&Bs/apartments in the UK, but 12 million school age kids. And good luck to whoever draws the Travel Tavern next to an abattoir…

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Is it illegal? I’m seeing British kids in Corfu at this moment.

        • Tony says:

          Yes. Illegal to the extent that you can be fined for doing it, something like £50 per child per day of school missed. The law changed back in 2013 so schools can no longer sanction in term holidays. Note it is different in Scotland, not sure about Wales.

          • Yuff says:

            Parents cannot authorise absences; only schools can do this. Head teachers have discretion to grant leave during school term time, but this is not an automatic entitlement. The law governing such leave of absences was tightened up from September 2013.

          • Tony says:

            @yuff the stance may vary by council but the default here is that you will not get authorised leave for holidays.

            A funeral of a close family member is the sort of thing they will permit, or a competitive sports event, but taking little Timmy off to Florida in June is a no-no.

  • gordon says:

    The non quarantine for amber countries will be good news. So I am hoping that it will help with the situation I was in recently.
    I had a flight to dominion republic (amber-list) end June and BA cancelled (operational reasons) travelling to the county was allowed and I was happy to jump through the hoops with tests, quarantine etc. Although operational reasons covers a range or things I’m guessing there were not enough people to make the flight cost effective.

    • Anna says:

      Did you enquire about re-routing or changing to another date, you would have been within your rights to do so (though direct flights are probably few and far between just now and transiting through other countries brings a whole host of other issues!)

      • gordon says:

        No I didn’t as you are correct about transiting through other airports as we flew to the same destination last September and because BA cancelled we flew swiss via ZRH so had to isolate on our return.and there were so many alterations by Swiss air outbound and inbound. Hotel date changes car parking changes etc. So this time I opted for a refund. Should have more luck in December when will will attempt getting to the Caribbean again.

  • Char Char says:

    Hello Vaccine Passport.

  • WillPS says:

    Already looking forward to the epsilon variant and another locked down winter as a result of a short sighted business-pleasing decision.

    Nailed it lads.

    • JP-MCO says:

      You realise herd immunity can’t just disappear overnight because of a single variant don’t you? No epidemiologist believes that can occur, it gets eroded over time. Also, you should follow the development of the Valneva vaccine which is interesting because the nature of how it works means (increased general immune response v’s targeting spike protein) it is thought it is likely to be more ‘variant proof’. Either way the Government rules by consent – that consent would likely be withdrawn if the UK introduced a winter lockdown and other countries didn’t. I can’t see it happening myself.

      • Odd says:

        Not to public-health the travel blog, but herd immunity can disappear, due to ‘break-through’ infections, or cases that happen even in people who have been vaccinated. These are still rare, even if becoming more frequent, and while the bigger point will be the ‘erosion’ as immunity wanes or wares off (without boosters), you can drop below a herd immunity threshold. The Valneva vaccine would definitely be ‘variant-proof’ from what I have seen, but they haven’t even finished trials, while others with finished trials, like Novavax, are still ways away from being used. I’d say a bigger driver of avoiding/requiring another lockdown is if they start vaccinating younger age cohorts.

    • Rhys says:

      Short sighted? There will be no end to variants, they will keep coming. The only certainty in this game is that there WILL be variants….

      If anything, learning to live with a mutating virus is long-sighted!

      • Mark says:

        Exactly that. And the way things are heading it’s just as likely we’re going to see them originate within the UK than as a threat from overseas.

        • mr_jetlag says:

          More likely in fact given our central position on the global travel network and population density in S England. The Kent variant appeared here for a reason.

      • TimM says:

        Infectious diseases are not new. We live with them, always have, always will.

        Having more effect than travel bans during a pandemic would be to ban cars, live in a hilly area, walk or cycle everywhere, don’t live with anyone you are emotionally involved with (because they are most likely to murder you), don’t drink, don’t smoke, etc.. These would all have more effect than trying to avoid variants of one particular infection.

        We are all participants in the evolutionary game.

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