Johnson and senior ministers agreed that travelers with two Covid-19 vaccinations and children should be allowed to travel to Orange List countries, including France, Spain and Italy, without isolating themselves for 10 days upon their return.
Details of the plan will be announced to MPs by Grant Shapps, transportation secretary, on Thursday. Two Whitehall officials told the Financial Times that the new regime will begin on July 19, when most of the legal restrictions on Covid-19 in England are expected to end.
Shapps will define the new arrangements, which should include the need for a PCR test on return to England, as currently happens for travel to ‘green list’ destinations such as Malta and Mallorca.
Although ministers want to facilitate travel preparations from July 19, British border forces have wanted to delay until July 26 in order to have more time to prepare for a significant increase in airport traffic.
“Ministers want it introduced on July 19 for the big bang day, although the Border Force is concerned about the logistics,” an insider said. Another official said: “It makes sense to line up as much as possible for the sake of simplicity. “
Speaking to a small parliamentary committee on Wednesday, Johnson confirmed the announcement would take place on Thursday and described the double vaccinations as a “great liberator” that offered “enormous potential” to bring life back to normal.
This week, the Prime Minister said: “We will maintain our strict border controls, including the Red List, and recognizing the protection offered by two doses of vaccine, we will work with the travel industry to eliminate the need for arrivals. fully vaccinated to isolate on return from an amber country.
Airports are worried about huge immigration queues if there is a sudden pickup of people traveling, and border force officers are checking the vaccination certificates of every arriving passenger.
Airlines have suggested they should check passenger status when checking in instead, and British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport have teamed up to launch a trial that will speed up fully vaccinated arrivals.
It is also still unclear how passengers who have not been vaccinated in Britain can prove their vaccination status.
The start of the school holiday season has also been overshadowed by the prospect that trips may have to be canceled in the short term due to an increase in Covid-19 cases.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said cases could reach a record 100,000 per day if – as expected – a decision is made on July 12 to remove most legal restrictions on July 19.
Recent data suggests that for every case of coronavirus, two more people are asked to self-isolate.
This suggests that 700,000 people per week could be infected, with 1.4 million more people being asked to self-isolate, which could throw the travel plans of more than 2 million people per week into short chaos. term.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said the prospect of having to self-isolate will weigh on travelers’ planning.
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“Being flexible will be the key to weathering the ups and downs of last minute changes to border rules and other restrictions this summer,” he said.
A group of six airlines, led by Manchester Airports Group, will sue the government in the High Court on Friday to seek judicial review over the transparency of the traffic light system for international travel.
“We desperately need the UK government to be more nimble and open when it comes to international travel,” said Charlie Cornish, CEO of MAG.