I am writing to update you on the UK Government's plans to progress the safe, sustainable and robust restart of international travel.
The COVID-19 roadmap out of lockdown included a commitment to relaunch the Global Travel Taskforce to consider a safe return of international travel. We worked with industry and international partners to develop a risk-based framework that can facilitate the return of international travel while managing Variants of Concern. The Taskforce also committed to checkpoint reviews to see how our measures may be able to adapt as the situation changes.
Our overarching goal remains protecting public health. Whatever we do we will not risk throwing away our hard-won UK achievements, which have only been possible through the hard work of the British people in coming forward for their vaccinations when called.
Therefore, in recognition of our successful domestic vaccination programme, as part of the first checkpoint, I am delighted to announce a new policy for more seamless inbound travel for fully vaccinated passengers. Our intention is that later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries. We expect this to occur in phases, starting with UK residents. They will still be required to take a pre- departure test and a test on or before Day 2, and any positive results will be sequenced to continue to manage the risk of importing variants. However, they will not need to take a test on Day 8.
At the same time, we intend to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries. Pending decisions on whether under 18s should routinely be offered vaccination, we will also take clinical advice on whether regular testing can provide a safe alternative to self-isolation for children accompanied by vaccinated adults.
Further detail will be set out next month, including which rules will apply to children and those unable to be vaccinated, how we will operationalise this at the border, and the implementation dates.
Further, I wanted to provide an update on the latest changes to the country allocations under the traffic light system. From 04:00 on 30 June, Malta, Madeira, the Balearic Islands, several UK overseas territories, and Caribbean islands, including Barbados will be added to the green list.
Countries on the green list pose the lowest risk. Passengers arriving from those countries (who have not visited or transited through amber or red list countries in the previous 10 days) will be required to fill in the Passenger Locator Form, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel and take a sequencing test on or before Day 2 after arrival.
All additions to the green list, apart from Malta, will also join the green watchlist, as will Israel and Jerusalem. The green watchlist serves to support travellers in identifying countries most at risk of moving from green to amber, in order to give people the greatest possible transparency when booking to travel abroad so they can make an informed decision. If the situation in a country changes dramatically, we will not hesitate to act swiftly and decisively to protect the health of the UK public and our progress on vaccination.
Unfortunately, we also announced that Eritrea, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda will be added to the red list from 04:00 on 30 June, a sign of our ongoing vigilance in protecting against the virus and harmful variants. International visitors who have visited or transited through any red list country in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights in the UK, will be allowed to enter and they must stay in a government approved quarantine facility for 10 days.
The risk posed by individual countries will be continuously monitored and the green, amber and red lists will be reviewed every three weeks. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) will produce risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions will be taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports decisions.
I do not underestimate the impact these necessary measures are having on the travel and aviation sector, and we have put in place support packages, including around £7bn of support to the air transport sector by September 2021.
We all want to see a thriving international travel sector as soon as possible, that is able to co-exist with COVID-19 whilst protecting public health. Thanks to the success of our vaccination programme, we are now able to move further forward with our efforts to achieve this.
The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT