The prime minister has confirmed the government is looking at plans to scrap the 10-day quarantine rule for fully vaccinated people – but warned of continuing “hassle” and a “difficult year” for travel.
Boris Johnson told Sky News that ministers are looking at plans to end the requirement for people who have had two Covid-19 jabs and come into contact with an infected person to isolate for 10 days.
The move could also mean that people returning from amber list countries with both doses don’t have to quarantine.
He told Sky News: “It is very important that we look at all of the opportunities for all of us over the coming months from two jabs.
“When it comes to travel we will certainly be looking at that, but I want to stress that this is going to be, whatever happens, a difficult year for travel.
“There will be hassle, there will be delays, I’m afraid, because the priority has got to be to keep the country safe and to stop the virus coming back in.”
Asked about 10-day quarantine for double-jabbed travellers returning from amber list countries, he said: “We are looking at it, but I want to stress that the emphasis is going to be on making sure that we can protect the country from the virus coming back in.”
Speaking earlier on BBC Breakfast, health secretary Matt Hancock said plans to scrap the 10-day isolation period for people who have had two doses of vaccine and replacing it with daily tests are being piloted.
“We’re not ready to be able to take that step yet, but it’s something that I want to see and we will introduce, subject to clinical advice, as soon as it’s reasonable to do so,” he said.
However, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said the government should limit international travel until amber list countries have their vaccination systems in place and their Covid-19 transmission reduced.
Professor Calum Semple told Sky News: “Any percentage coming back positive from an amber-listed country is likely to be bringing back viruses from areas that have higher transmission and the possibility of bringing back variants.
“You really don’t want the virus being brought back from another country while we are doing our best to get levels as low as possible.”
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.
And on Sunday (June 20), Dr Susan Hopkins, Public Health England’s chief Covid-19 adviser told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show 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.