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End to quarantine for fully vaccinated UK residents returning from Amber List countries, but not yet for those living abroad

End to quarantine for fully vaccinated UK residents returning from Amber List countries, but not yet for those living abroad

The UK have announced they are to remove obligations to quarantine upon the return to England from countries on their COVID-19 amber risk list, including Spain and The Canary Islands, for anyone fully vaccinated as of July 19, as first reported by The Times, and confirmed this morning by the UK Minister for Transport, Grant Shapps.

“I can confirm that, from July 19, UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to self-isolate when they return to England,” he said, before stressing that, “in essence”, the new rule means that, for for fully vaccinated travellers, the requirements are the same for both green and amber list countries.

In an intervention at the House of Commons, picked up by the British press, Shapps has detailed that travellers with the complete vaccination will be exempt from keeping to mandatory ten-day quarantines, but will have to undergo a PCR on the second day of return to the England.

“[Travellers] will still be asked to take a test three days before returning, prior to departure, which shows that they are negative before travelling, and a PCR on the second day or earlier,” explained the Transport Minister, clarifying that the English authorities will no longer require another test on the eighth day.

“The move” say The Guardian “is likely to cause a significant backlash from UK citizens living abroad who have been vaccinated in their countries of residence, often with the same vaccines used by the NHS.”

Sources within the Department for Transport have confirmed anyone vaccinated abroad would not, currently, be able to prove their vaccine status and so must still quarantine on arrival to the UK, but said this was only “phase one” and that work was ongoing to recognise foreign certification. The EU Digital Green Certificate has officially been in operation since the beginning of July, though there have not yet been any announcements as to whether this will be acceptable in the future for entry to the UK.

The government currently aims to have offered both vaccinations – with an eight-week gap – to all over-18s in the UK by mid-September.

“I don’t underestimate for a second just how difficult the last 16 months have been for those who have not been able to travel to see their families, and the tourism and for the aviation sector itself, of course, and no minister, let alone transport secretary, would want to ever curtail freedom and ask people not to travel,” Shapps said.

“Protecting public health has rightly been and will continue to be our overriding priority of this government, and that’s why we introduced some of the toughest border measures in the world. But we are now, thanks to our brilliant vaccination programme, in a position where we can start to think about how we live with coronavirus while returning life to a sense of normality.”

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