Do you need Covid vaccine to travel? Proposed rules on quarantine free travel for fully vaccinated explained

The UK government is working on plans for quarantine-free travel from amber list countries

Rules for travellers who have been vaccinated twice could soon be eased (Getty Images)
Rules for travellers who have been vaccinated twice could soon be eased (Getty Images)

The government is planning to introduce quarantine-free travel for double vaccinated UK travellers from later this month, The Times reported.

There were several more additions made to the green list of countries UK visitors can travel to without quarantine, with new rules coming into effect on 30 June.

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With France, Greece and most of Spain still classed as amber countries, however, many UK travellers are waiting for news of quarantine-free travel to popular destinations.

Mr Shapps said during his update that Government would continue to take a “cautious” approach to reopening foreign travel.

However plans or the government to exempt people who are fully vaccinated from the need to quarantine after returning from amber list countries, are reportedly being considered.

So when could these changes come into force? Here’s what you need to know.

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Will I need to quarantine if I am double vaccinated?

For now all travellers who visit amber destinations for recreational purposes are required to quarantine for ten days upon their return to the UK.

This could be about to change, however. The Government is working on plans for quarantine-free travel from amber list countries for fully vaccinated holidaymakers which could be in place later in the summer.

It is expected that this will be a phased scheme that will start with UK residents. They will still have to take a pre-departure test and a test on Day 2.

The Government also intends to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries.

When could the rules be relaxed for double vaccinated travellers?

According to The Times, the Government is aiming to have quarantine-free travel plans in place for the fully vaccinated by 26 July.

Under the plans, those who have had both doses of a vaccine will not need to quarantine after visiting amber list countries.

The newspaper reported that the relaxation is expected to first apply to UK residents with access to the NHS, but that it is also set to be extended to all EU citizens.

However, the Home Office is reportedly yet to decide whether Covid passports will be scanned before travel, at border control or through spot checks by officials.

According to The Times, the UK is also close to agreeing a deal with Brussels that will mean the NHS app will be recognised as a vaccine certificate across the EU.

What about under 18s and those who are not vaccinated?

Decisions have yet to be made on whether under 18s should be offered a vaccination. The Government is looking at clinical advice on whether regular testing can provide a safe alternative to quarantine for children who are with vaccinated adults.

More information on the rules which will apply to children and those who have been unable to be vaccinated are to be set out next month. This should include detail on the dates of when the changes will happen.

Am I allowed to travel to amber countries?

The recommendation is still that people should not currently travel to amber list countries.

Anyone who does not quarantine at home after international travel can be fined £1,000, which may increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences.

What are experts saying?

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, whose modelling was instrumental to the first lockdown in March 2020, said people who have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine are less likely to become seriously ill or transmit the virus.

The Government has announced it intends to lift the quarantine requirement for people in that category returning from a location on its amber travel list later this summer.

Prof Ferguson said: “The effectiveness of two doses of vaccine preventing infection is, depending on the vaccine, somewhere between, we think, 80-90%.

“Even if you do get infected, first of all you’re much less likely to be severely ill.

“But you’re also, and this is important for travel, much less likely to transmit – probably half as infectious as somebody who wasn’t vaccinated.

“So overall that leads to double vaccinated people really only posing somewhere between five and 10% of the risk of importing a case than somebody who wasn’t vaccinated.

“So, in the sense that we are balancing risks versus benefits here, I think it’s a sensible approach to move to loosening restrictions if people have had two vaccine doses.”