Covid: EU and US arrivals into England, Scotland and Wales will no longer need to quarantine
ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports on the latest Covid travel changes
People travelling to England, Scotland and Wales from the United States and European Union will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival if they have been double vaccinated, the government has announced.
The relaxation of border restrictions will take effect from from August 2 at 4am, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced.
He said: "We're helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK."
Travellers will be required to take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on or before the second day after their arrival.
Changes have not been announced for those arriving in Northern Ireland however newspaper reports claimed the devolved nations would soon follow.
It was also announced that international cruises will soon be allowed to restart but the date of their return has not yet been confirmed.
The exemption from quarantine for double-jabbed travellers also applies to European countries Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and Vatican City.
Those vaccinated in the US will also need to provide proof of US residency.
Currently, only travellers who have received two doses of a vaccine in the UK are permitted to enter from an amber country - such as the US and most of the EU - without self-isolating for 10 days.
But ministers have decided to extend the exemption to those vaccinated in the US and the EU.
Those returning from France however will still be subject to quarantine rules due to the country's coronavirus situation.
Exemptions will not apply to any country added to the UK's red list of travel destinations.
There's also been a change to the traffic light system, with an 'amber watch list' being created which will warn travellers that countries on that list could soon move to turn red.
No countries will move traffic lights as of Wednesday, but the government has warned previously that changes could be made swiftly and with little notice.
While the changes would be a major boost to the aviation and tourism sectors - which have been severely restricted during the pandemic - the benefit to potential holidaymakers in England may be negligible due to restrictions in destination countries.
The United States, for example, has already announced that most European travellers, including those from the UK, will remained banned from entering the US due to coronavirus fears.
Britons who are US residents or citizens could benefit from the quarantine relaxations when entering England but they would have to quarantine when returning to America.
'A big boost for the economy but a huge task for Border Force':
ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi gave his analysis following the government's travel update:
He said: "Allowing double vaccinated visitors from the EU and USA is fantastic news for the UK tourism industry which is normally worth £28 billion a year - spenders from overseas directly support 500,000 UK jobs."
"The concern will be that it creates yet more complexity in our airports where hard-pressed Border Force staff are already warning that queues could be long this summer.
"Now there will also be the complexity of checking vaccine paperwork and digital apps for people arriving from the EU and USA in greater numbers."
The Welsh government said it “regrets” the UK government’s move to relax quarantine requirements for EU and US visitors to England, but added it would be “ineffective” to have different rules for Wales.
Eluned Morgan minister for health and social services, said: “There remain clear public health risks posed by re-opening international travel and removing quarantine restrictions to US and EU fully vaccinated amber arrivals at this time.
“Without self-isolation requirements upon arrival there is a higher risk of importing cases and variants of concern (VoCs) from abroad.
"Vaccines will reduce this risk, but only if they are effective against VoCs.
"This is why we continue to caution against international travel for non-essential reasons this summer.
“We regret the UK government’s proposals to further remove quarantine requirements.
"However, as we share an open border with England it would be ineffective to introduce separate arrangements for Wales.
“Therefore, we will be aligning with the other UK administrations and implementing this decision for Wales.”
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the government had made "the right decision".
He said: "We will now work with colleagues in the industry to boost UK trade, reunite family and friends, and generate billions in new tourist income."
Sean Doyle, British Airways chief executive, said the move "will allow us to reunite loved ones and get global Britain back in business".
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told the PA news agency: "The significance of this decision can't be overestimated.
"It will pump vital cash into the travel economy, and help salvage the rest of the summer."
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said the government was able to make the border policy changes not only because of the UK's high jab rate but because the EU and US "also have very successful vaccination programmes".
“By reopening quarantine-free travel for travellers who have been fully vaccinated in European countries and the USA, we’re taking another step on the road to normality which will reunite friends and families and give UK businesses a boost.”
What does this mean for English holidaymakers? What are the rules elsewhere?
People hoping to go on foreign holidays this year will still be subject to travel restrictions in the EU and US, despite England's border changes - here we take a look at what the rules are in other popular destinations.
Spain has its own travel restrictions on arrivals from the UK however it is likely they would not stop a fully vaccinated person entering the country.
If Britons can prove they've had their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine longer than 14 days before their arrival in Spain, or that they've tested negative within 48 hours prior to their arrival, then they will be able to enter the country quarantine-free.
The same rules apply for Spain's islands such as Ibiza and Mallorca.
France is on the UK's 'Amber plus' list, which means it will be the only country in Europe from which fully-vaccinated travellers must still self-isolate when they arrive back in England.
Entering France from England is much easier, however, with no travel restrictions at all applying to those who have been twice vaccinated - as long as the second dose was more than seven days ago.
Those who have not been double-jabbed can still enter the country but you must provide proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow test taken less than 24 hours before boarding.
Entry to Greece and its various islands is permitted without quarantine for people who can prove they've either been double-jabbed or have tested negative.
Unvaccinated people must show they've had a negative result from a laboratory PCR test taken within the past 72 hours, or a laboratory lateral flow test taken up to 48 hours before entry.
People can also enter Greece with proof that they've tested positive with Covid-19 in the past 30 to 180 days.
People arriving in Italy from the UK are subject to a five day period of quarantine, whether or not they have been vaccinated.
A coronavirus test must be taken on day five with a negative result in order to leave quarantine.
Britons are not permitted to enter the United States regardless of whether they have been fully-vaccinated or have recently tested negative for coronavirus.
The White House on Monday said it would “maintain existing travel restrictions” due to the increasing spread of the virus and rising case rates across Europe.
There are exemptions for permanent US residents and US citizens however these travellers will be subject to the restrictions of the state they are entering, which is likely to mean a period of quarantine.