Following a trial to check passengers’ vaccination status, pressure is increasing on the government to reduce quarantine regulations for travelers from the EU and the US.
The results came as rumors surfaced that officials are expected to reveal proposals to drastically open up international travel, with persons who have been properly vaccinated in the US and EU avoiding quarantine if landing in England from countries on the Amber List.
Quarantine-free incoming travel to countries outside the EU and the US could be allowed at a later date.
The test was conducted by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Heathrow to show that vaccination status could be checked outside of the border, allowing safe admission to the UK from countries on the amber list.
During the 10-day study, which featured roughly 250 fully vaccinated people from the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe flying to Heathrow, the businesses claimed that 99 percent of documents were confirmed correctly.
The amber list includes the great majority of countries, including the United States and numerous European countries like Spain, Italy, and Germany.
Adults and children under the age of 18 who have been properly vaccinated in the UK are no longer required to self-isolate after visiting any other country other than France.
However, anyone who was completely vaccinated outside the UK is still required to quarantine for ten days upon arrival, unless they pay for the test-to-release scheme.
The government has received data from the trial in advance of the next traffic light limitations checkpoint, which is scheduled for 31st July.
Passengers on selected flights from Los Angeles, New York, Montego Bay, and Athens agreed to share their vaccination status at their departure airport in the trail, demonstrating that the industry is prepared to quickly adapt and conduct additional vaccination checks to support a safe reopening of the skies at scale.
The aviation partners claim that the experiment demonstrates that the industry is ready for amber rules for fully vaccinated travelers and that there is no need to hold off on expanding the program to include US and EU citizens.
Fully jabbed newcomers from amber nations are now exempt from self-isolation if they have had vaccines administered by UK officials.
As a result, the UK is falling behind the EU and impeding its own economic recovery, with even fully vaccinated visitors from its greatest trading partners unable to prevent self-isolation.
John Holland-Kaye, the CEO of Heathrow Airport, said: “The vaccine has been a miracle of science, and these trials have shown that we can allow fully vaccinated passengers from the EU and US to visit the UK without quarantine. There is now no reason to delay rolling out the solution from 31 July.”
Sean Doyle, chairman, and CEO of BA, said: “We are confident that this proving trial provides the evidence the government needs to allow fully vaccinated customers from low-risk countries to enter the UK, knowing it’s possible to do so smoothly and safely.
“The UK needs to safely re-open its borders as soon as possible to ensure loved ones can reunite, business can thrive and Global Britain is able to take advantage of the UK’s world-leading vaccination programme.”
Shai Weiss, his Virgin Atlantic counterpart, said: “The UK is already falling behind the US and EU and a continued overly cautious approach towards international travel will further impact economic recovery and the 500,000 UK jobs that are at stake.
“We urge the UK government to move the US to the UK’s green list and for the exemption from self-isolation to be extended to all fully vaccinated passengers with WHO-recognised vaccines, beginning with the US and EU.
“Our proof-of-concept trial demonstrates our readiness as an industry to rapidly operationalise an expanded amber policy for fully vaccinated travellers, and work with government and authorities to ensure it is smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the transatlantic corridor.”
Professor Denis Kinane, the founder of Cignpost ExpressTest, which offers testing at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, and Edinburgh airports, said: “It would be sensible at this point in the pandemic to relax quarantine rules for those traveling from amber list countries. Those vaccinated here and abroad are at a lower risk to themselves and their families so allowing them to travel here without quarantining is entirely justifiable.
“However, vaccinated individuals can still catch the virus and be a transmission risk. So, as we relax this quarantine restriction, it is also important to continue testing before and after arrival.
“Because lateral flow tests are significantly less reliable than the gold standard PCR tests, we believe the government should require anyone travelling here to have a PCR test before they board a plane and then again on arrival.
“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 a repetition with a new Covid strain.”
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