UK ‘to consider relaxing travel restrictions from EU and US’

·2-min read
Passengers arriving at Gatwick Airport (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
Passengers arriving at Gatwick Airport (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

The government will consider easing restrictions for travellers from the EU and the US this week, according to reports.

A senior airport executive reportedly said he was confident ministers would expand quarantine exemptions “imminently” because it would help the tourism sector.

Apparently the decision will be based on the government’s review of the traffic light system which will conclude this week.

The review will examine whether double-jabbed travellers from the EU and US will be able to bypass quarantine in the UK.

This week’s review of the travel system is predicted to be the last before October which means the rules announced will apply over the summer holidays, according to The Financial Times.

Government officials told the newspaper it would be “easier” to have more relaxed rules for travellers from the EU because of digital health passes being handed out.

However, one official told the newspaper it would be more difficult to give the same waiver to US travellers because “their system is largely paper-based and is operated by 50 states” but ministers were said to be considering it as a “gesture of goodwill”.

There is no certainty that the US will reciprocate in relaxing the rules for travellers from the UK.

It comes after the White House confirmed it would maintain its travel ban on the UK and countries in the EU Schengen nations.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday: "Given where we are today ... with the Delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point.

"Driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely continue to increase in the weeks ahead."

Meanwhile, it’s expected France is one of the main countries likely to be removed from the amber plus list for the UK as government officials seemed to admit the Beta variant threat was contained, according to reports.

Under the current system, anyone arriving from France will have to quarantine at home or in other accommodation for five to 10 days - even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told LBC: “There was a reason at the time that the advice was we should put France on that amber (plus) list, it was concern about the Beta variant and the fact that the vaccine might be slightly less effective against that.

“But as those rates come down obviously the evidence will change and it can be reviewed and we will want to be putting countries like France back onto the amber list in the normal way.”

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