Britain lifts quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers

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LONDON, Aug. 5 - Britain will strip quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers returning from France to England and Scotland, rowing back on a rule which had infuriated French politicians and thrown millions of holidays into confusion.

Is Britain double vaccinated a higher proportion of its population against COVID-19 than most other countries, but a maze of rules has prevented travel to many countries, devasting the travel industry.

Minister of Transport, Grant Shapps, said the easing of the rules would ease pressure on the struggling travel industry and give sun seekers a chance to meet up with friends and family.

England and Scotland also eased rules for Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway, although it upped the price of obligatory quarantine hotel stays for red list countries by 60% to 2,285 pounds per adult.

While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe which is good news for both the sector and public traveller, Shapps said in a statement.

Scotland is also easing the rules.

The United Kingdon operates a traffic light system for international travel, with red risks rated green for quarantine-free travel, low risk countries rated amber, and white countries requiring arrivals to spend 10 days in isolation in a hotel.

Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to England's green list for low-risk travel from Aug. 8, the government said, meaning that arrivals from those places do not have to self-isolate whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

Boris Johnson's travel regulations have angered some of the European allies, frustrated millions of sun-seeking Britons and brought dire warnings from airports, airlines and tour companies.

British Airways welcomed the easing of the rules, but said the government had to go further.

We welcome more low-risk countries being added to the green list, but urge the government to go further, help people end uncertainty and allow people to benefit from our world-leading vaccination programme, said Sean Doyle, the airline's chairman and CEO.

The UK's economic recovery is dependent on a thriving travel sector and right now we are lagging behind Europe with our more stringent testing requirements and a red list significantly broader than our European peers.

Airlines UK lobby group said the government's decision was too late to save the crucial summer holiday season.

This is another missed opportunity and means that with the summer season nearly closes, international travel has not had anything like the reopening it was hoping for, it said. The UK continues to open their borders far slower than the rest of Europe.

The change to the status of France, the second most popular destination for Britons before the pandemic, means it rejoins the Amber list. The government said it made the change because the prevalence of the Beta variant of COVID - 19 had now fallen.

France had been on the Amber List but became the only amber-plus-country in mid July, meaning that with two days notice even fully vaccinated people still had to quarantine on their return, prompting an outcry from travel industry and French politicians.

The UK clinicians and scientists will remain in close contact with their counterparts in Spain to keep abreast of the latest data and picture of cases in Spain, government said.