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Isolation scrapped for fully vaccinated travelers from amber countries

Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

Double-jabbed Brits arriving back in England from amber list countries will no longer need to self-isolate for 10 days on their return from 19 July.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the news on Twitter and made a statement to MPs this morning. Most popular holiday destinations including mainland Spain, Greece and the US are currently on the amber list.

The move looks set to prompt a surge in holiday bookings as international travel will effectively reopen. Children under 18 will not need to self-isolate, meaning family holidays can go ahead if both parents have been vaccinated.

People returning to the UK from green list countries can already do so without the need to isolate. However, travellers whether vaccinated or not, will still need to pay for Covid tests when returning from destinations on either the green or amber list. Arrivals from red list countries must pay to self-isolate in a hotel for 10 days.

The government had already indicated it was planning to scrap the need to quarantine for those who are double-jabbed and returning from amber countries. But until today it hadn’t made it clear whether unvaccinated children would also be able to avoid quarantine if their parents were fully vaccinated.

In addition to relaxing the rules around isolation for travellers, the government is considering a different approach to isolation for Covid contacts.

It comes amid fears that surging cases across the UK will lead to millions of people being ‘pinged’ by the NHS app and told to self-isolate, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Being forced into isolation could play havoc with many people’s holiday plans.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “With restrictions easing and cases rising, it’s been suggested that several million people could be required to self-isolate by law this summer – and if they have travel plans booked, most travel providers currently say they will not allow customers to claim a refund. This could leave travellers facing bills of several hundred pounds for trips they can’t take and struggling to get a refund.

“However, the CMA’s guidance is clear that people who cannot travel because they are undertaking mandatory self-isolation should be entitled to a refund. Holiday operators and airlines cannot shirk their responsibility to refund customers who cannot travel for a second summer, so companies must ensure they are offering the option of a refund to customers whose plans are disrupted by having to self-isolate.”