UK to allow quarantine-free travel from US, EU from next week; India remains on red list

The United Kingdom announced that fully-vaccinated travellers from the US and European Union (EU) countries will be able to avoid a 10-day compulsory quarantine when they arrive in England from next Monday.

Other parts of United Kingdom will confirm their own travel norms based on the updates.
Other parts of United Kingdom will confirm their own travel norms based on the updates. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

Currently, only people who received their COVID-19 vaccine in the UK can avoid quarantine when arriving from these “amber list" countries under the government’s traffic list travel system.

India remains on the red list under the international traffic system, which bans travel and imposes a compulsory 10-day hotel quarantine for returning British residents, with a review of that status set for the middle of next week.

However, with the Delta variant first detected in India continuing to be the dominant variant in the UK, India’s status on the travel advisory remains uncertain.

“We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade this is progress we can all enjoy," said UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Meanwhile, from 4 am local time on August 2, passengers who are fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or in the US with vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or in the Swiss vaccination programme, will be able to travel to England without having to quarantine or take a Day 8 COVID test on arrival.

These amber list arrivals who have been fully vaccinated in the US and EU countries will still be required to complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before Day 2 after arrival. France continues to remain outside this ambit amid a surge in Beta variant cases in the country.

“Our vaccination programme is building a wall of defence against this virus so we can safely enjoy our freedoms again, with seven in 10 adults in the UK now double jabbed," said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

The news will come as a significant boost to the beleaguered travel industry, while also restoring important business links with key trading partners. 

Following the monitoring of epidemiological evidence, the UK government also confirmed the go ahead for international cruise sailings to restart from England in line with Public Health England (PHE) guidance. Other parts of United Kingdom will confirm their own travel norms based on the updates.