UK Plans to Ease Quarantine Rules for Travel to U.S., EU for Vaccinated Travelers
The new policy will likely go into effect in phases later this summer.
The United Kingdom's Department for Transport plans to ease quarantine restrictions for vaccinated residents heading home from the U.S. and many other countries in Europe in the coming weeks.
The new protocols would apply to fully-vaccinated people traveling to countries on the UK's "amber" list, which includes the U.S., The Associated Press reported. The new policy will likely go into effect in phases later this summer.
"We're moving forward with efforts to safely reopen international travel this summer, and thanks to the success of our vaccination program, we're now able to consider removing the quarantine period for fully vaccinated UK arrivals from amber countries – showing a real sign of progress," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the AP in a statement.
In addition, the UK added several destinations to its "green" list, including Malta, Bermuda, and the British Virgin Islands.
Currently, travelers coming from an "amber" country are required to get tested before arrival and quarantine for at least five days before getting tested again several times, according to the UK's government site. Travelers coming from "green" destinations are required to take a COVID-19 test before coming and within two days of arriving, but can skip quarantine.
For its part, the U.S. continues to restrict non-essential travel for non-U.S. citizens from several areas around the globe, including from the UK. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified the UK as a "Level 3," indicating there is a high incidence of COVID-19.
Both the U.S. and the UK have vaccinated significant portions of their populations. In the U.S., 65.7% of adults 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 56.2% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. In the UK, 82.9% of people 18 and older have received at least one dose and 60.6% have received two doses, according to the government.
The potential new travel rules follow a push by U.S. and UK airlines calling for the opening of a travel corridor between the two countries.
While the UK makes plans to eventually open up travel, it comes just over a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back plans to lift many of the country's remaining COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Beyond the UK, travel restrictions have begun to loosen around the globe. Last week, Europe added the U.S. to its safe travel list and several European countries have started welcoming U.S. travelers, including Italy, Greece, Spain, and France.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.