Dominic Raab hints EU & US rules pave the way for more ‘reciprocal’ quarantine-free travel

Raab discusses double-vaccinated reciprocal arrangements

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The Government confirmed on Wednesday that double-jabbed arrivals from European Union (EU) countries and the US will be permitted to travel to the UK without the need for quarantine. According to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, this has already inspired other nations around the world to contact the UK in a bid to make “reciprocal” quarantine-free agreements.

Following the announcement, Mr Raab says he received “messages” from other world leaders hoping to open up discussions into how they too can open up travel with the UK.

“It is interesting already overnight I’ve had foreign ministers message me saying they’ve noticed the announcement and asking ‘what can we do to do this on a reciprocal basis?’,”Mr Raab told Sky News.

“What it has done is encourage a conversation reciprocally about how British nationals and British businesses, as well as international businesses, can come and travel safely.

“I think as we proceed out of lockdown and we start to think about international travel that the safe, steady way of doing it with high trust countries where we can verify the vaccines that their nationals have had in order to come into this country.”

He explained that, at present, only certain countries will be considered for quarantine-free travel.

“I think they key thing but the EU countries and the US, they’re countries that we have high trust in the way they define double vaccination,” he continued.

“Those are the kinds of countries we want to pursue in the future. High trust countries.”

Currently, the UK is only permitting travellers who have received both doses of either a US FDA approved vaccine or an EMA vaccine to enter the country.

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Mr Raab said: “It is part of the sure-footed, steady easing out of lockdown and of course that includes international travel, for economic reasons and for various other things.”

The transport secretary said the Government believe they have protected the UK and are in a “stronger position” to protect the nation against future Covid and variant outbreaks.

“We have double vaccinated 70 percent of the adult population here so we are confident as we come out of lockdown in this country that we’re in a much stronger position,” he said.

“We keep an eye on the variants, but because of the 70 percent double vaccination of our population and because we are inviting only people from the US, EU and perhaps, in due course, as we build up confidence in the system, other countries we proceed on that basis.

“Because it’s people that we have double vaccinated we believe we have got the right level of security assurance against people who might be at risk coming in from abroad.”

However, at present, the agreement with the EU and US is not reciprocal.

The EU has not taken a bloc-wide approach to travel from the UK, with each nation setting out its own specific entry requirements for Britons.

In some cases only double-jabbed UK arrivals are granted entry for leisure purposes, in some cases, rigorous testing remains in place, and in others, Britons remain banned from visiting.

Meanwhile, the US has not yet opened up travel for UK arrivals.

Only a specific set of people, such as green card holders, are permitted to enter the US.

The UK is said to be urging the US to drop its travel ban and allow double-jabbed Britons to enter the country without quarantine.

Mr Raab said he can not confirm when Britons will be able to travel with fewer restrictions, or which nations could be moved to the green list next.

He said those booking a holiday now “have to judge it on the basis of the traffic light system in place now.”

The foreign secretary added: “We can’t give cast iron guarantees on what the next review will decide. If we didn’t it wouldn’t be a very meaningful review system.”

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