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Drop Quarantine and Test Requirements for Vaccinated Travellers, British Airlines Demand

Drop Quarantine and Test Requirements for Vaccinated Travellers, British Airlines Demand

british airways. Photo Credit: Arie Wubben via Unsplash

The UK aviation industry made a series of new demands of the British government on Monday, saying fully vaccinated travellers should be exempt from taking multiple expensive COVID-19 tests and allowed to skip quarantine.

Despite mounting evidence that vaccines are highly efficacious against COVID-19 and that very few travellers are actually testing positive for the virus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson predicted on Monday that 2021 would be “a difficult year for travel”.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the industry body Airlines UK which represents the likes of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet said fully vaccinated travellers coming from ‘Amber’ list countries should be allowed to skip self-isolation and forego post-arrival PCR tests.

“Given the incredible efficacy of vaccines and their critical role in easing domestic restrictions, we believe that the framework can safely be adjusted to provide a pathway for vaccinated people to travel without restriction, alongside steps to reduce restrictions for green and amber categories, making them more proportionate for travellers,” the letter read.

New analysis of test data compiled by the British government by The Times newspaper revealed that only 1 in 200 people arriving from an amber list destination test positive for COVID-19.

In the three-week period between May 20 and June 9, not a single traveller arriving from one of the 167 countries on the amber list tested positive for a variant of concern.

Shapps, Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have justified the need for some of the toughest travel restrictions in the world in order to keep out variants of concern (despite the Delta variant already being embedded in the UK).

“Today 32 countries exempt travellers from quarantine and 27 from testing if fully vaccinated,” the letter to Shapps explained. “The failure to adopt a similar approach risks the UK falling further behind the EU’s reopening of international travel, including the critical trans-Atlantic market.”

Airlines UK pointed to Europe which has just approved an easing of travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers. The government says it is exploring ways to reopen international travel further for fully vaccinated travellers.

Only 11 countries are currently on the UK’s ‘Green’ list whereby travellers can skip isolation requirements. All arrivals must still take a series of COVID-19 tests whether vaccinated or not.

The next review of the Green list is set to be discussed by ministers on Thursday and any changes announced on June 28. The government have kept hidden its criteria for what countries make the Green list but experts believe that based on infection rates and vaccination data, the list should be significantly expanded.


Photo Credit: Arie Wubben via Unsplash

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