Double-jabbed holidaymakers ‘must still take PCR tests’ after visiting ‘amber list’ countries adding HUNDREDS of pounds to costs despite Grant Shapps preparing to announce TODAY that quarantine is being axed for fully-vaccinated from July 19
- Grant Shapps expected to confirm today new measures will kick in from July 19
- It means quarantine-free holidays will be unlocked for millions of families
- Measures will turn vast majority of countries green for double-jabbed people
Double-jabbed holidaymakers will still have to take PCR tests after visiting ‘amber list’ countries despite Grant Shapps preparing to announce quarantine rules are being ditched from July 19.
The Transport Secretary is expected to confirm today that the self-isolation rules are being waived for the fully-vaccinated from so-called ‘Freedom Day’, in a boost for the stricken travel industry and Brits desperate to get away.
However, the requirement to get gold-standard lab tests two days after returning will stay with ministers arguing it provides crucial genomic sequencing to detect dangerous variants.
The rule could add hundreds of pounds to the cost of holidays for families, as children will need to have the screening too.
PCR tests for holidaymakers returning from the ‘green list’ destinations is also expected to remain in place.
Holiday firms have been gearing up for a bookings surge ahead of Mr Shapps confirming the move in a Commons statement.
It means quarantine-free trips will be unlocked for millions of families to more than 130 countries – including the US, Thailand and most European countries.
The Transport Secretary is expected to confirm today that new measures will kick in from July 19 for holidaymakers returning from amber list countries
Quarantine-free holidays are set to be unlocked for millions of families to more than 130 countries – including the US, Thailand and most European countries
As it stands, travellers returning from these destinations must quarantine for up to ten days – regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
Only travellers returning from a small list of green countries can avoid quarantine.
But the new measures will effectively turn the vast majority of countries green for double-jabbed people.
Amid growing speculation in recent days, comparison site TravelSupermarket said more than half of all new bookings were for the last week of July or first week of August – up from 10 per cent a fortnight ago.
Meanwhile 62 per cent of all package holiday searches are for July/August, up 20 per cent on last month.
British Airways said searches for holidays to amber list countries on its website yesterday were up 45 per cent compared with the same day last week. And Jet2 said it had seen ‘enormous demand’ for flights.
Martin Nolan, of booking site Skyscanner, said: ‘It is clear that people are aching to be able to travel again… as evidenced by the immediate uptick in searches and bookings.’
Paul Charles, CEO of The PC Agency, a travel consultancy, said firms were racing to bring staff back off furlough to handle the expected surge in bookings.
He said: ‘My advice is for people to lock in tomorrow on the deals they see before there’s an announcement because prices will rise when demand spikes.
‘I think we will see a lot of last-minute bookings for trips at short notice. Families will confirm some trips but then you will get a lot of couples that are fully-jabbed.
‘I think there will be a rush to the border by the double-jabbed over-40s and the silver generation.
‘The pent up demands is enormous. There will be a lot of trips to long-distance, more exotic locations. But Spain, France and Portugal will also all do really well.’
He added: ‘One issue is resources and whether firms have the staff and capacity to deliver it.
What countries are on the ‘amber list’ for travel?
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue
Czech Republic (Czechia)
Greece (including islands)
The Occupied Palestinian Territories
Papua New Guinea
Portugal (including the Azores) Madeira is on the green watchlist.
Sao Tome and Principe
Spain (including the Canary Islands) The Balearic islands are on the green watchlist.
St Kitts and Nevis
St Martin and St Barthélemy
St Pierre and Miquelon
St Vincent and the Grenadines
United States (USA)
Wallis and Futuna
‘I know some travel firms that are bringing people back from furlough to cope with the expected increase in demand.’
Under the revamped rules, the ‘do not travel’ advice will be dropped and vaccinated UK residents will be allowed to travel home from amber countries without the need to quarantine.
Children, who are not eligible for vaccination, will be exempted from self-isolation if they are travelling with family.
But they will have to take additional tests. According to the Telegraph, Mr Shapps has told the industry: “Day-two testing will remain for arrivals from amber countries, regardless of vaccinated status, as this pro vides genomic sequencing capability to identify the risk of importing variants.’
Those who have not received both vaccines will still have to quarantine when they arrive in the UK or face a £10,000 fine.
The change will make no difference to red list countries such as India, Turkey and Brazil.
Anyone returning from a red list country must quarantine in an approved hotel at a cost of £1,750 each.
British Airways said searches for holidays to amber list countries on its website yesterday were up 45 per cent compared with the same day last week
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