As Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the list of regained freedoms for those in England from 19 July, he held back from giving details on how double-vaccinated Brits may soon avoid quarantine when returning from amber list countries.
Announcements on whether double-jabbed people have to isolate when pinged by NHS app or quarantine when they enter the country are expected later this week.
Johnson today hinted of a return to mass leisure travel in time for the end of the summer season.
“We will maintain our tough border controls, but…recognising the protection afforded by two doses of the vaccine we will work with the travel industry towards removing the need for fully-vaccinated arrivals to isolate on return from an amber country”.
Johnson said transport secretary Grant Shapps will update the industry with details later this week, but gave no further indication of when any changes may come into force.
Lastminute.com chief executive Andrea Bertoli welcomed the easing of restrictions but said the UK Government must go further, sooner to bring the travel industry back from the brink.
“Freedom Day should mean the equally hard-hit hospitality industry will get a boost, but the biggest boost for all destinations, and for London in particular, would come from inbound cash coming to the capital from the USA and Europe.
The travel boss said the industry “really needed” today’s announcement to say that the fully vaccinated people are able to return or visit from amber list countries without quarantining at home, so he may just need to wait a few more days to get some meat on the bones of the policy.
“It will be a last-minute summer as UK holidaymakers are just waiting to have a stable context to pack their bag and head south to a nice beach in the Mediterranean.
“Until today, like all UK consumers and the whole travel industry, we’ve been at the mercy of sudden government decisions. We’ve called consistently for clarity across the whole of the pandemic – so rather than a traffic-light system that can be changed overnight, a more measured approach to opening up, letting people fully vaccinated to travel without restrictions, would be much better for businesses and consumer confidence.
European countries such as Spain, Greece and Malta currently allow arrivals from the UK to forgo any quarantine if they can show proof of full vaccination, with their final jab more than 14 days ago.
The travel industry has repeatedly criticised the UK Government for not making the most of its successful Covid-19 vaccine rollout and restricting the number of destinations Brits can travel to without cumbersome quarantine and testing rules when they arrive back into the UK.
Passenger numbers on airlines such as Ryanair are still down more than 90 per cent on pre-pandemic levels and airports remain eerily quiet in ehat should be one of the busiest times for travel.
Travel stocks surged 2.3 per cent ahead of the press conference, on the prospect of a reopening.
Johnson said this is not the moment to get “demob happy” as he warned that the battle against coronavirus is “very far” from over.
The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference: “I don’t want people to feel this is, as it were, the moment to get demob happy, this is the end of Covid – it is very far from the end of dealing with this virus.”