London: Britain has moved the UAE, India and others from its red to its amber list for international travel, meaning returning travellers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer have to quarantine on arrival in England.
Bahrain and Qatar have also moved from red to amber, the UK government said early Thursday UAE time, with the measure taking effect from August 8 at 7am UAE time.
Fully vaccinated travellers from countries on the UK’s amber list still require a pre-departure test and a further PCR test on day two of their trip.
Those who are not fully vaccinated must still self-isolated for 10 days on arrival, plus take a pre-departure and two post-departure tests.
No quarantine from France
The UK government also announced that fully-vaccinated travellers returning to England from France will no longer have to quarantine, scrapping an extra rule imposed on its closest neighbour last month.
The government said the change to France’s status would help simplify its travel rules, and would also allow quarantine-free travel from more places, in a boost for the beleaguered travel industry.
Britain has one of the fastest vaccination programmes in the world but the government has so far stopped airlines and travel companies from making a full recovery with a maze of rules and last-minute changes which have scared off holidaymakers.
It operates a “traffic light” system for international travel, with low-risk countries rated green for quarantine-free travel, medium risk countries rated amber, and red countries requiring arrivals to spend 10 days in isolation in a hotel.
Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will all be added to Britain’s green list for low-risk travel from August 8, the government said, meaning that arrivals into England from those places do not have to self-isolate whether they are fully vaccinated or not.
“While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public,” transport minister Grant Shapps said in a statement.
The government also said the cost of hotel quarantine for an adult would increase to £2,285 to ensure taxpayers were not paying for the scheme.
Long haul boost
Airlines will also be pleased to see more potential for long-haul travel.
The change to the status of France, the second most popular destination for Britons before the pandemic, means it rejoins the amber list. The government said it made the change because the prevalence of the Beta variant of COVID-19 there had now fallen.
France had been on the amber list but became the only “amber plus” country in mid-July, meaning that with just two days notice even fully vaccinated people still had to quarantine on their return, prompting an outcry from the travel industry.
There had been worries that Spain, the top destination for Britons, would be added to the “amber plus” list in this latest review, but the government instead advised arrivals from there to take a PCR test pre-departure, rather than a cheaper lateral flow test, where possible.
“UK clinicians and scientists will remain in close contact with their counterparts in Spain to keep abreast of the latest data and picture of cases in Spain,” the government said.