UK creates Amber Plus travel list, fully vaccinated arrivals from France must still self-isolate

Jul 19, 2021

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Starting today, 19 July, fully vaccinated British travellers no longer have to quarantine on return from amber list countries. Over the weekend, even before ‘Freedom Day’ arrived, the U.K. government created an exception that makes things a little more complicated.

For anyone entering the United Kingdom from France, all arrivals still need to go through the self-isolation process previously applicable to all amber list countries. This effectively creates an ‘Amber Plus’ list, containing amber list countries with an extra exception. The exception includes fully vaccinated travellers transiting through France from another country, even if it’s a green or amber one.

Related: Returning to England from an amber list country — Top tips and what you can expect

The reason behind this exception is a surge in the beta variant, previously known as the South Africa variant, observed in overseas French territories. Experts are concerned about the effectiveness of the vaccines against this variant.

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After arriving from France, British travellers need to quarantine for ten days with a test on day two and day eight. Alternatively, the quarantine period can be shortened to five days by paying for an extra test through the Test to Release scheme for anyone living in England.

Related: What kind of COVID-19 test do I need to travel and how much does it cost?

Unsurprisingly, the travel sector was not pleased with this move. Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association said “the UK has no coherent policy on international travel” and is “destroying its own travel sector and the thousands of jobs that rely on it”.

This announcement comes on the heels of France announcing a very strict and controversial policy requiring vaccination or bi-daily testing for everyone intending to access public spaces, sparking protest around the nation and beyond.

Some fear France could be added to the red list soon, despite the normal traffic light re-evaluation being more than two weeks away.

Featured image by Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

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