Transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to quarantine when returning to England from countries on the amber list, with the new rules set to take effect from 19 July.
Shapps, addressing the House of Commons on Thursday (8 July), also told MPs fully vaccinated people would still be required to take tests upon their return to the UK from amber countries.
The rules currently stipulate amber list arrivals must take a pre-departure test, and then two more expensive PCR tests on days two and eight of their return. But the day eight test will no longer be required from 19 July. People are regarded as being fully vaccinated 14 days after they have received their final jab.
Children, who have not been vaccinated against the virus, will also not have to quarantine when returning from amber countries, although they will also have to take Covid-19 tests. This will apply to all children regardless of whether they are travelling with adults or not.
Shapps said children aged between five and 10 will only have to take a day two test, and children aged four and under will continue to be exempt from all testing and quarantine requirements.
He also said that the government would drop its advice against travelling to amber list countries from 19 July. But the current rules on returning from red list countries will remain.
"I can confirm from 19 July UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine roll out will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England," said Shapps during his announcement.
He added that the move meant "requirements for green and amber-list countries are the same" for fully vaccinated passengers from 19 July.
Those returning from countries on the green list will also have to continue taking PCR tests on day two of their return, despite many claims that these are "unnecessary" and have not resulted in any positive cases.
The travel industry hopes the amber list quarantine exemption for fully vaccinated holidaymakers will ignite late bookings to key destinations such as Spain, Greece and Portugal this summer.
"The measures are designed to ensure we can continue to minimise the risk of new variants," added Shapps. "The government will not hesitate to act if the data signifies that needs to happen. 19 July marks the next step to this cautious reopening of travel."
Shapps said that PCR tests were "more accurate and can also be more quickly sequenced for genomes", when asked why the government was continuing to insist on travellers taking this type of test.
The government is expected to announce its next update on the traffic light system next week. The last update saw Malta added to England’s green list, while Spain’s Balearic islands, Madeira and several Caribbean destinations were added to the country’s green watchlist.
Shapps said there would be a further review of testing and quarantine rules for international travel on 31 July.