Six key questions answered as quarantine from amber list countries is scrapped

Some families can visit sunshine destinations such as Greece and Spain from July 19 without having to quarantine when they get back.

Double-jabbed adults will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days on returning to England from amber list nations, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

Unvaccinated children will also avoid having to quarantine.

Travel chiefs have welcomed the changes, but warned: “More still needs to be done.”

The Government announcement paves the way for restriction-free hols to more destinations for millions of people.

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But some places, including amber list nations such as Italy, have imposed tough conditions for travellers from Britain such as self-isolation on arrival.

So what are the new rules? Here are the answers to six key questions:

What happens if you travel from England but live in Wales or Scotland?

The quarantine-free rule announced yesterday will only apply to people returning to England.

Wales and Scotland are yet to announce their plans, but may opt for the same regime given many residents fly in and out of England.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We are considering these proposals and all restrictions remain under constant review. Decisions about quarantine will be made in Wales and we will make an announcement in due course.”

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Glorious sunshine on Anfi beach near Puerto Rico on Gran Canaria
Glorious sunshine on Anfi beach near Puerto Rico on Gran Canaria

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “not ruling out” the same rules for double-jabbed people returning to Scotland.

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She said: “We are considering that carefully… and will come to a decision on that fairly soon in terms of whether or not that will apply to people returning to Scotland.”

What are the rules on international travel for Scotland and Wales?

Currently the same as England – people arriving from red list territories must pay £1,750 to quarantine in a Government-approved hotel in England for 10 days.

Those from amber countries must have proof of a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, self-isolate at home for 10 days, and have a pre-booked testing package for all travellers aged five and above for testing at day two and day eight following their arrival.

Passengers coming from green list nations do not have to self-isolate but must provide proof of a negative test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, and take a test on or before day two of their arrival.

What happens if the amber list country turns red while you’re away?

You’re going to fork out a lot of money when you get back.

The Transport Secretary warned amber list countries could be moved to red while people are abroad – and all the return restrictions will apply, including hotel quarantine.

Bathers seen sunbathing at Malagueta beach during a hot summer day in Malaga
Bathers seen sunbathing at Malagueta beach during a hot summer day in Malaga

Grant Shapps said: “An amber list country could still turn red, necessitating a change in behaviour when people return to the UK. Indeed, if a country goes into red, there will be mandatory hotel quarantine.”

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The rate for a 10-day stay at a Government-approved hotel for one adult in one room is £1,750.

The additional cost of another adult or a child aged 12 or older is £650, with kids aged five to 11 costing £325.

How long after your second jab can you travel?

The Covid Pass needed to avoid quarantine on return is available two weeks after a second dose of a Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech jab, or two weeks after having the single-dose Janssen vaccine.

The Government is restricting quarantine-free travel from amber nations to people vaccinated within the NHS – so even if you have had those jabs overseas, you would not be eligible.

Can you still go to an amber list country if you haven’t had your second jab?

Yes. But you will have to self-isolate for 10 days when you return, as now.

From July 19, the Government will scrap its guidance not to travel to amber nations.

Many of those who might be desperate for a getaway will find themselves unable to avoid quarantine as they have not had both jabs.

Because of the move to vaccinate from oldest to youngest, most 20 to 30-year-olds are yet to receive their second dose, and may not have done so before rules are eased.

Some may be able to book breaks for the end of the summer.

And many who have been reluctant to have a jab may see quarantine-free foreign travel as an incentive.

How many tests do you need to do if you have to isolate on return?

You will have to do an extra test compared with those not isolating.

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Everyone must take a test before departure back to England, and one on day two. Those self-isolating must also take a day eight test.


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