Airlines say the government should ditch its requirement for arrivals from amber countries with non-UK vaccines to self-isolate following a successful trial.
Under current UK rules, arriving travellers from amber countries must be fully jabbed under the UK’s vaccination programme to avoid self-isolation – effectively forcing all non-UK travellers from amber countries to quarantine.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic conducted a trial in which 250 fully vaccinated volunteers on flights from the US, Caribbean and Europe presented Covid-19 vaccination status in digital or paper format to officials.
Internationally recognised credentials including CDC cards, New York’s Excelsior Pass and the EU Digital Covid Credential were among those used by the 250 customers in the trial, alongside NHS certificates.
During the 10-day test, verification checks ensured 99% of credentials were authentic, with the remaining 1% successfully denied where documentation requirements were not met.
The airlines said the trial “shows industry readiness for amber rules for fully vaccinated travellers to be expanded to US and EU citizens without delay”.
Data from the trial has been shared with the UK government ahead of the next traffic light restrictions checkpoint, due by 31 July.
Sean Doyle, BA chief executive and chairman said: “We are confident that this proving trial provides the evidence the government needs to allow fully vaccinated customers from low-risk countries to enter the UK, knowing it’s possible to do so smoothly and safely.”
Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic chief executive, added: “We urge the UK government to move the US to the UK’s ‘green list’ and for the exemption from self-isolation to be extended to all fully vaccinated passengers with WHO-recognised vaccines, beginning with the US and EU.”