The government is reportedly considering a quarantine exemption for Brits who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Telegraph reports the move would allow arrivals into England to skip quarantine if they’ve had both their jabs.
Such a relaxation of the rules would, in effect, turn amber list destinations green for those who have been fully vaccinated.
This would open up Spain, Greece, France, Italy and a host of other popular European destinations, as well as some further afield.
According to The Telegraph, health secretary Matt Hancock has intimated he would be open to the suggestion, although the plan would still involve some form of testing requirement.
It is unclear at this stage what this would amount to, but the government currently insists all arrivals – including those who have been fully vaccinated – from green list countries take a PCR test for Covid-19 by the end of the second day of their return to ensure any infections can be genomically sequenced to check for variants.
It was reportedly Hancock and cabinet secretary Michael Gove who insisted on tougher border measures at the first review of the UK government’s green list earlier this month, which saw Portugal – the only viable mainstream destination on the list – removed just three weeks after it was placed on the list.
Travel has been highly critical of the government’s stance on travel for those fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and have accused ministers of failing to take advantage of the UK’s vaccine dividend accrued thanks to the speed of the country’s vaccine roll-out.
Just 11 countries and territories currently feature on the green list, and the government has actively discouraged travel to amber list destinations for leisure purposes.
During a Commons debate last week, former prime minister Theresa May accused the government of failing to take advantage of its efforts with regards to vaccination, claiming the UK was falling behind Europe in efforts to open up.
"It’s incomprehensible that one of the most heavily vaccinated countries in the world is one that is most reluctant to give its citizens the freedoms those vaccinations should support," said May.
The UK’s traffic light regime, which came into effect on 17 May when restriction on non-essential international travel were lifted, is due its first formal review on or by 28 June – the first of three official checkpoints insisted upon by the government’s Global Travel Taskforce.
The Telegraph further reports the proposal to ease quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers would likely be discussed by the government’s Covid operations committee over the coming days ahead of he 28 June review.
One major consideration will be whether the new rules apply to all arrivals, or just British arrivals. Additionally, the UK’s devolved administrations are free to set their own travel rules and could take a different path.
To date, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have mirrored the approach set out by the UK government.
Under the current rules, amber list arrivals must take a pre-departure test ahead of their return to the UK, as well as PCR tests on days two and eight of their mandatory 10-day self-isolation requirement.
On Wednesday (16 June), the EU added another eight countries to its safe travel "white list", including the US. Arrivals into the bloc from these countries can evade quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The UK is currently not on the EU list owing to concerns over the Delta variant of Covid-19.
A government spokesperson said: "Recognising the strong strategic rationale and success of the vaccine programme, we have commenced work to consider the role of vaccinations in shaping a different set of health and testing measures for inbound travel."