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Government to phase in recognition of vaccinated travellers

The government has confirmed the addition of Malta, Madeira, the Balearic Islands and several Caribbean islands including Barbados to its green list for travel.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the measures initially on Twitter, with confirmation coming later from the Department for Transport (DfT).

Shapps also confirmed plans to allow quarantine-free travel from amber list countries for fully vaccinated passengers “later in the summer” as he insisted the government’s aim is “to continue cautiously reopening international travel in a safe and sustainable way”.

The announcement promised full details next month.

The DfT explained: “Our intention is that later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries. We expect this to occur in phases, starting with UK residents.

“They will still be required to take a pre-departure test and a test on day 2, and any positive results will be sequenced to continue to manage the risk of importing variants.

“At the same time, we intend to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries.

“Pending decisions on whether under-18s should routinely be offered vaccination, we will also take clinical advice on whether regular testing can provide a safe alternative to quarantine for children accompanied by vaccinated adults.

“Further detail will be set out next month including the rules which will apply to children and those unable to be vaccinated, how we will operationalise this approach at the border, and the dates on which these changes will come into effect.”

But for the time being, the DfT said: “It is recommended that people should not travel to amber list countries.”

The government also added six more countries to its red list including the Dominican Republic, Tunisia and Uganda.

The Balearics and the other destinations will join the green list from 4am on Wednesday June 30. However, all the additions apart from Malta will also join the ‘green watch list’, as will Israel and Jerusalem, “signalling these countries are at risk of moving from green to amber”.

Placing them on the watch list means uncertainty will remain as to whether trips can go ahead without the restrictions changing.

However, the DfT suggested: “All measures announced today are designed to give travellers and the travel sector more certainty.”

It noted they “will be kept under review, and further action may be taken to protect public health”.

Shapps said: “We’re moving forward with efforts to safely reopen international travel this summer, and we’re now able to consider removing the quarantine period for fully vaccinated UK arrivals from amber countries.”

He insisted: “It’s right that we continue with this cautious approach, to protect public health and the vaccine rollout as our top priority.”

The DfT noted: “Travel continues to be different this year and passengers face longer wait times.”

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye welcomed the announcement as “very positive”.

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