Ministers are considering plans to allow fully vaccinated people to flash their NHS application at border checks to avoid ten-day self-isolation.
This could open up sunny favorites currently on the Orange List including Spain, France and Greece. The strategy is still in the early stages of discussions, but The Sun understands that, if approved, Boris Johnson could approve the plans before the end of the season.
Treasury Secretary Jesse Norman, hinting that a plan is in the works, said: “We don’t want to be left behind by countries that could take a two-step approach if it can be done safely, with care and safety. “
A source from Whitehall added: “I don’t think we can wait long if this is something we want to do. “
Britons will still have to go through a series of PCR tests on their return – but they won’t have to stay locked in their homes if they come back negative. Families would still be banned from vacationing in Red List countries, and those returning would be forced to quarantine themselves in state-mandated hotels.
Another government insider said: “This is one of the many things that they are looking at – and it is in the very early stages.
“We need to align our border policy with vaccinations, and internally that sounds like something we can do. “
But ministers fear that reopening international travel before everyone has been hit twice will create a two-tier system, where retirees can fly to Corfu but young people have to be content with stays.
A source said: “We don’t want to see elders fighting with young people at the airport. “
The news came as airline chiefs Ryanair and Manchester Airports Group launched legal action over what they called the chaotic ‘catch up as you go’ traffic light system.
In court documents, they asked ministers to clarify what scientific information they use on how they put countries on the red, amber or green list.
Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, said: “The UK traffic light system has been a mess from the start.
‘This go-stop-go-stop policy is causing untold damage to the aviation industry and frustrates and upsets millions of UK families when they see their vacation plans and family visits disrupted by poor travel management international by government. “
Charlie Cornish, boss of Manchester Airports Group, added: “For most countries the traffic light appears to be lit orange for no obvious reason, despite prevalence rates far lower than in the UK. “
But Britain’s daily Covid-19 cases topped 11,000 yesterday for the first time since February 19 and daily coronavirus deaths, at age 19, were the highest since May 11, when 20 people lost life.
A whopping 11,007 new cases have been reported, a total of 4,600,623 since the start of the pandemic. The total death toll in the UK is 127,945.
The numbers are rising despite the huge vaccination campaign – with four in five adults in the UK now vaccinated.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that the NHS will contact people between the ages of 18 and 20 today and invite them to book a time slot.
About a million people aged 21 and 22 were asked to book their first jab on Wednesday.
Hundreds of thousands of text messages were sent inviting them to make an appointment for the two doses through the national reservation system.
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Sir Simon Stevens, head of the NHS in England, had promised on Tuesday that all adults in England should be able to book their first jab by the end of the week.
Dr Emily Lawson, of the NHS Covid Vaccination Program, said: ‘The biggest NHS vaccination campaign ever is on the home stretch of rolling out the first dose.
“The vaccine is the most important step you can take to protect yourself, your friends and family, so it’s very important that everyone in the last eligible groups register to play their part. “