Whilst Europe and the rest of the world are making headway towards repealing their restrictions and opening up to wider travel, the UK has been late to the party. Lambasted for its cautious approach to letting its citizens travel abroad, the UK has sought to make amends with changes to its travel restrictions, which come into effect from Monday 19th July.
However, on the eve of the country’s most positive easing of travel restrictions yet, more changes are coming that are bound not to be welcomed by British travelers. Here’s everything you need to know about this story, and a look at some other recent travel restriction changes enforced by the UK.
UK Restrictions Ending – Information for Travelers
The British populace has been subjected to several lockdowns and harsh restrictions as their government struggled to contain the spread of Covid-19 throughout the pandemic. With the situation thought to be improving – and with more than half the population not fully vaccinated – the British government is set to end the majority of its Covid-19 related restrictions from Monday, a day that has been dubbed “Freedom Day” by the media.
However, whilst mask mandates and social distancing rules are set to be on the way out, many scientists have criticized the move, arguing it is far too early for such decisive measures to be taken with the risk level still very high. With the country in the midst of a third wave, having recorded more than 50,000 new cases just yesterday, it’s fair to say that the scientists may have a point – but the country looks set to carry on with the repealing of its restrictions regardless.
Changes To Travel Restrictions – Information For Travelers
In a rare turn of events, many British travelers lauded recent changes made by the British government that allowed fully-vaccinated travelers returning to the UK from an amber list country to skip quarantine. Frustrated by the government’s reluctance to place countries on the no-quarantine green list, it was a solution that allowed the government to open up travel in a responsible way, whilst still keeping British travelers and airlines happy.
However, on the dawn of the new policy coming into effect, the British government have made a significant change that is bound to see their approval rating take a hit. From the 19th, whilst most amber-destination travelers will be able to skip quarantine, those who have visited France and are returning to the UK will still need to self-isolate for a period of 10 days. The new rule has been designed to keep the Beta variant – previously referred to as the South African variant – at bay, given that it now accounts for as many as 10% of all new cases of Covid-19 in France.
Speaking about the decision, Britain’s Health Minister Sajid Javid said:
“We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme. With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.”
France is the second most popular destination for British travelers, and so the news is bound to affect scores of travelers who were undoubtedly planning a summer vacation across the English Channel. Unfortunately, the news gets worse for British travelers; the Balearic islands, consisting of Ibiza, Majorca, Menorca and Formentera, are set to be moved on to the amber list from the green list, meaning unvaccinated travelers will have to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return to the UK.
A full list of the green list countries can be found here. Travelers coming from a green list do not need to quarantine, but non-British travelers entering from an amber list country will need to self-isolate for 10 days – regardless of vaccination status. Those entering from a red list country will need to stay in one of the government’s hotel quarantine facilities.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories