Much to the delight of expat Brits living in Span, UK Ministers have finally agreed to quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated foreign nationals from a host of countries including vast swathes of the EU and even the US.
The UK now recognises vaccine passports from countries that currently accept the NHS Covid pass for travelling Brits in a deal that was announced towards the end of last week.
It comes as travel insiders are becoming increasingly confident that the Government will announce a “big bang” approach to opening up travel this week with more countries added to the green list.
Currently 33 different countries recognise the UK’s Covid-19 passport, and ministers had been drawing up plans to provide reciprocity for several weeks, allowing double-inoculated travellers to visit family and friends in England. Countries that recognised the NHS app included Spain, Greece, France, Germany, Ireland, Portugal Hong Kong, Anguila, the Cayman Islands and Barbados among others.
Government sources said that talks were ongoing in regards to recognising US vaccination certification, but no decision had yet been made. It is understood that signing off on this move is complicated by the fact each US state has its own approach to Covid passports, with some states only issuing paper certificates, raising fears of forgery.
Many EU countries have relaxed restrictions on fully-vaccinated US travellers, however, piling pressure on the UK to follow suit.
Traffic light changes
However, the announcement is bitter-sweet for Brits desperate to see loved ones as speculation mounts that Spain will be moved to the so-called ‘amber plus’ list for travel restrictions. This would mean Brits visiting Spain would have to quarantine for 10 days upon their return.
This system was unveiled when a ban on foreign holidays was lifted on 17th May as part of the lockdown roadmap. Destinations are categorised as green, amber, or red, depending on the severity and risk of coronavirus. Despite now being in July, the green list is still limited, with a large proportion on the ‘green watchlist’ – meaning they’re at risk to moving to the amber list.
Reviews usually take place every three weeks. Announcements often come on a Thursday, however the latest one came on Wednesday, 14th July. The next review is therefore expected this week, with the announcement most likely on either Wednesday, 4th August or Thursday, 5th August.
A UK travel expert said: “We’re expecting something of a big bang around opening more green-list destinations. Ministers have become a lot more confident with the falling levels of infection that more countries can go green.”
“More countries going green is badly needed for the travel sector in August. It urgently needs to get more destinations available to it and urgently needs to get more flowing into businesses,” he added.