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Britain drops quarantine for amber expats

Heathrow Airport has welcomed today's news.

The United Kingdom has today confirmed that it is to relax its entry restrictions later this month for arrivals from amber listed countries, including expats who have received vaccinations overseas.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps initially told the British parliament that fully vaccinated UK residents arriving in England from amber travel list destinations will no longer have to self-isolate from July 19. However, all travellers must still pay for and undergo a test on departure and a further test on the day of arrival or on day two. Essentially, this means that the requirements for fully vaccinated travellers are the same for both amber and green countries.

Children under the age of 18 years will also be exempt from isolation if they are travelling with fully vaccinated adults, although testing will be required for children aged five years and up.

In further statements, Shapps has confirmed that expats are also to be included in the new travel plans. He told Britain's Sky News that ministers are working on proposals to allow those who have received jabs outside of the UK to be exempt from quarantine if arriving from an amber country. Hong Kong is currently listed as amber, while Singapore is green.

The UK has categorised all countries into green, green watch-list (meaning they could turn amber at any time), amber and red. Most countries fall into the amber category which means arrivals from these places must self-isolate for up to ten days.

Shapps said that allowing arrivals vaccinated in other countries to enter the UK quarantine-free is 'phase two' of the government's international travel policy.

He acknowledged that there were "complexities to work through" (the US for instance has around 50 different vaccination certification systems according to state and which are all paper based) and said the EU would probably be the first to be recognised as it already has a digital app in progress.

He said the British government would also be looking at whether different vaccines were World Health Organisation certified. He hoped to be able to provide more information regarding non UK-resident arrivals from other world locations "in the next couple of weeks".

Also from July 19, the UK guidance that British residents should not travel to amber countries will be removed.

According to Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye, “This… news will give a much-needed boost to millions of people across Britain looking to a more normal summer.”

Heathrow, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are carrying out trials this weekend on fast-tracking fully vaccinated arrivals at Heathrow Airport. However, the trial is only open to fully-vaccinated Britons who hold an NHS vaccination app or a paper NHS vaccination certificate, US travellers with a paper vaccination certificate and EU citizens with a digital ‘green’ pass.

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