More details have emerged about proposals to enable Brits who have had both Covid-19 jabs to avoid quarantine when they return from amber list countries.
Last week, reports said Department for Transport (DfT) officials were drawing up plans for fully vaccinated adults to be allowed to travel to amber countries with their children without having to quarantine under the plans.
It would open up European destinations that are rated amber, such as Spain, Greece, France and Portugal.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Public Health England’s chief Covid-19 adviser told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday (June 20) that the UK is moving towards a situation where people who have been double-vaccinated could be exempt from quarantine.
She said a decision would be made after the results of a study that uses daily lateral flow tests as an alternative to isolation for 10 days after coming into contact with a positive case.
Hopkins said it was possible it could be used to allow people to travel more freely – and 70% of adults in the UK should be able to get their second Covid-19 vaccination by July 19, when more restrictions could be lifted.
However, she also said: “I think we should be predominantly deciding to holiday at home this summer while we get all of our population vaccinated.”
Elsewhere, Sky News reported a vaccine expert said the UK could open up “sooner rather than later” thanks to the huge numbers of people being vaccinated.
Brendan Wren, professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that having more than 81% of the adult population with a first coronavirus jab, and 59% with both doses is “very encouraging”.
Asked whether the success of the vaccine programme means England will not need to wait until July 19 to fully open up, he said: “We’d still need to be vigilant – but vigilance and vaccination are the two words.
“So, I think if the numbers continue to be promising then I think there’s great hope we could open up on 5 July.”
Following the reports about the possible easing of rules for double-vaccinated UK travellers returning from amber countries, online travel agency eDreams reported an increase in searches to Portugal, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
It said: “This data showcases Brits’ strong desire to travel and highlights their appetite to be prepared for possible relaxations in restrictions, while also demonstrating how closely they are following travel policy announcements for indications about when they may be able to plan their next trip overseas – a growing anticipation that double-vaccinated Brits may be able to plan travel for this summer, and an appetite to be prepared.”