‘Sensible at this point’: Quarantine expected to be scrapped for EU and US travellers

Paul Scully discusses US' decision to raise alert for UK travel

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The Government is said to be “discussing” ways in which it could relax quarantine rules for fully vaccinated arrivals entering the UK from the US and European Union (EU). It would mean arrivals from these regions, both UK citizens and international visitors would be able to avoid 10 days of mandatory self-isolation if they could provide evidence of being double-jabbed.

Speaking on Sky News, Therese Coffey Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said “no decision has been made” on the latest relaxation of travel rules.

She continued: “This was discussed between the president of the US and the Prime Minister during the G7 so it should be no surprise that we are looking at ways we can facilitate travel.

“The most important thing is to make sure our borders are safe.

“That the public and the UK is safe and we don’t waste the sacrifice the British public is made.

“That is why we want to keep having the focus on people here been vaccinated but also considering opportunities of how we reopen the economy domestically but also potentially for people coming from abroad.”

It is thought the relaxation will be based upon data presented to determine the traffic light travel system.

According to the Financial Times, there are some concerns over how the latest change will be put into practice.

Government insiders told the newspaper it would be “easier” to welcome fully-vaccinated EU arrivals without quarantine thanks to the EU Digital Covid Certificate.

However, they pointed out it may be harder to regulate US arrivals due to the number of states with varying rules across the US.

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With more people receiving the vaccine around the world, a scientist has said the latest plans to further relax travel rules are “sensible”.

Professor Denis Kinane, founding scientist at Cignpost ExpressTest said: “It would be sensible at this point in the pandemic to relax quarantine rules for those travelling from amber list countries.

“Those vaccinated here and abroad are a lower risk to themselves and their families so allowing them to travel here without quarantining is entirely justifiable.”

However, Professor Kinane believes testing remains a powerful weapon in the UK’s arsenal.

“Vaccinated individuals can still catch the virus and be a transmission risk,” he said.

“So, as we relax this quarantine restriction, it is also important to continue testing before and after arrival.”

He added: “The single biggest threat to the country getting back to normal is if a new, more infectious Covid variant was to be brought into the country.

“The Delta variant was allowed to enter and spread, upsetting the Government’s unlocking timetable. We must do all we can to avoid repetition with a new Covid strain.”

The latest quarantine rule changes come at a time when Britons are still subject to 10 days of self-isolation at home if they are pinged by the Government’s track and trace app for having been in the vicinity with some who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Those pinged must isolate even if they do not test positive for Covid.

This rule is set to change from August 16 for those who have received both doses of the vaccine 14 or more days previously.

It is not clear whether or not the relaxed travel rules for the EU and US will come into force at the same time.

“It’s about making progresses, seeing how the vaccines have been really effective and that’s why domestically we still want more and more people getting the vaccine,” Ms Coffey told Sky News.

“From August 16 we anticipate that people in this country who have been double jabbed and had 14 days since their second jabs will move into a new phase where they can continue everyday life.

“The reason for going that bit longer, the further four weeks after July 19. when we entered successfully into the road map, is to again give time to allow the effects of the vaccine to be made fully available.

“That’s why we will continue to have this approach which is sensible, allows people to go about their lives, but is still encouraging people to get the vaccine.”

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