The UK government is to allow fully-vaccinated visitors from the EU and US to enter England without quarantine – but France is currently excluded from the rule.
The change is to come in from 4:00 on August 2, the UK government has announced, however as it only concerns people entering from countries on its ‘amber list’ France is for the time-being not concerned.
This is because the UK recently placed France on a single-country ‘amber plus’ list, said to be linked to concerns over the Beta variant of Covid, which is rare in the UK.
The reasoning for this 'amber plus' listing has left experts and politicians in France bemused, as the variant is not dominant in France, and France is not the only country to have a significant number of cases. In fact Greece and Spain have more, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, while there are similar amounts in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Commentators hope France will soon by placed back on the full amber list, however this would not usually be expected to change until the next ‘traffic light review’ on August 4-5 and with application in the week after that.
It comes after the UK already lifted the requirement for quarantine for its own residents, vaccinated in the NHS system, who are returning from trips to full amber countries. They are also only required to take a ‘day two’ test on return, as opposed to tests on both day two and eight (a 'pre-departure' test in the other country is also still required).
This roughly halves the cost of tests taken in the UK to around £75 (€88) instead of £150 (€176).
These rules will from August 2 also apply to those visiting from amber countries and who are fully-vaccinated in the EU with a European Medicines Agency-approved vaccine, in the US with a FDA-approved vaccine, or in the Swiss vaccination programme. But they do not apply to people travelling from France or who have been in the country in the 10 days before arrival.
The changes were announced today as part of the second Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint review and benefit people vaccinated in the US, EU, EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), Switzerland and the European microstates Monaco, Andorra and the Vatican.
Eligible travellers jabbed in EU countries will be able to enter by showing their EU Digital Covid Certificate, which in France is equivalent to the pass sanitaire and can be shown on the TousAntiCovid app. Those vaccinated in the US can show their CDC vaccination card.
Under-18s will be able to benefit whether or not they are jabbed though they are subject to the pre-departure and day two tests, apart from children aged five to 10 who only have to take a day two test.
UK government sources say the government is aware of the fact there are UK nationals living abroad who are fully vaccinated, however it is taking a “phased” approach to relaxing travel rules. It is working with other countries to more generally ensure “unhindered” travel for vaccinated people in due course.
There was hope last week that Britons abroad might soon be able to skip quarantine after a UK minister spoke of Britons vaccinated abroad being able, by the end of this month, to have their vaccination certificates registered by their GPs for recognition in the NHS system.
However it emerged that this was intended to apply to British residents who have had vaccinations abroad, not to Britons living abroad, who in any case generally are no longer registered with a GP practice in the UK.
British residents fully-vaccinated in the UK can enter France with no quarantine and no Covid test.