England ends quarantine for vaccinated visitors from US, EU


LONDON (AP) — Fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and much of Europe will be able to enter England without quarantining starting next week, the U.K. government said Wednesday — a move welcomed by Britain’s ailing travel industry.

The British government said people who have received both doses of a vaccine approved by the FDA in the U.S. or the European Medicines Agency, which regulates drugs for the European Union and several other countries, will be able to take pre- and post-arrival coronavirus tests instead of self-isolating for 10 days.

There is one exception: France, which the U.K. has dubbed a higher risk because of the presence of the beta variant of the coronavirus. Visitors from France will continue to face quarantine when arriving in England.

Currently only people who have been vaccinated in Britain can skip 10 days of quarantine when arriving from most of Europe or North America.

The rule change takes effect at 4 a.m. U.K. time (0300 GMT) on Monday and applies to England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will decide whether to follow suit.

Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the government had made the “right decision.” British Airways also welcomed the moved, but urged the government to go farther and ease restrictions on visitors from more countries.

Claire Walker, co-executive director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the announcement was “welcome news.”

“The long-term recovery of our entire economy also depends on reopening the U.K. to the two-way flows of people and trade,” she said.

The change hasn’t been universally reciprocated. Some European countries, including Italy, require British visitors to quarantine on arrival. The U.S. this week announced it is keeping a ban on most international visitors, and has advised Americans against travel to the U.K., citing a surge in infections driven by the more contagious delta variant of the virus.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he expected the U.S. to ease its travel restrictions.

“We can’t change that on the other side, but we do expect that in time they will release that executive order, which was actually signed by the previous president, and bans inward travel,” he said.


FILE – In this file photo dated Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, people in the International Arrivals area at Heathrow Airport in London, during England’s coronavirus lockdown. The British government has said that starting upcoming Monday Aug. 2, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers from the United States and much of Europe will be able to enter England without the need for quarantining. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)

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