Transport Secretary Grant Shapps makes a long-awaited Commons statement tearing up rules that currently require passengers returning from Amber List countries to self-isolate for up to 10 days.
The change, which is expected to take place on July 19, will open up Europe’s top holiday destinations, including France, Spain, Portugal and Italy – and tour operators and airlines are prepared for an increase in the rate. request.
While the removal of the quarantine for double-bitten Britons returning from Orange List countries is a boost for families hoping to head for the sun, holidaymakers will need to take PCR tests on the second day of their return.
Mr Shapps will tell MPs that children will be exempt from quarantine even if they are not vaccinated, but that they too must be tested on the second day of their return.
While the changes are widely welcomed by those planning a summer getaway, they could add up to £ 400 to a holiday for a family of four with additional testing before departure.
Adults who have not had both jabs will still need to be quarantined on their return from an Orange List country, or face a fine of up to £ 10,000.
Ahead of his statement, Mr Shapps told travel industry leaders: “Day two testing will remain for arrivals from amber countries, regardless of vaccinated status, as this provides genomic sequencing capability to identify the risk of importing variants. “
It is also expected that PCR tests for holidaymakers returning from Green List countries without quarantine such as Malta and the Balearic Islands will also remain in place for the same reason until at least July 31, when the travel system traffic lights will be reviewed for a second time.
The changes, approved by ministers on the cabinet COVID-O committee ahead of Mr Shapps’ statement, mean double-bitten Britons will be able to travel to more than 140 Amber List countries without quarantine upon their return.
Most European countries are currently on the Amber List, as are the United States, Mexico, Thailand and many Caribbean destinations. Some have restrictions on quarantine – five days for Italy – or pre-arrival testing.
Countries on the Red List – including India, Turkey and Brazil – will not be affected.
Paul Charles, managing director of travel consultancy The PC Agency, advised consumers to “make deals” before prices rise.
And EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: “For too long the British did not know when they could enjoy the same travel freedoms offered by their jab as in Europe, despite the huge success of our program. vaccination program which has now been fully vaccinated successfully. about two-thirds of British adults.
“News on when the quarantine will be lifted for the double hit traveling from Orange countries cannot arrive soon enough. ”