UK to reopen for vaccinated tourists, resume tourism to more than 150 countries
British officials are considering plans to open up international travel for passengers who have been fully vaccinated, enabling tourism to resume to more than 150 countries and territories including the vital US market and some of the most popular destinations in Europe.
Under the policy, which is still being discussed inside government, people who have received both doses of Covid vaccines would not need to quarantine on returning from medium-risk countries on the so-called amber list.
That would provide a major boost to airlines and tourism businesses who have been hammered since the start of the pandemic forced governments to shut down international travel. Airline shares surged on the possible adjustment.
Under current rules, destinations are coded red for the highest coronavirus infection risk, amber for medium risk and green for the lowest risk. Travellers are advised against going to amber or red list countries.
People who arrive in England from destinations on the amber list must quarantine at home or in the place where they are staying for 10 days, and take at least two Covid-19 tests during the period.
Carriers have criticised the policy, especially after Portugal was abruptly taken off the green list earlier this month, dealing a blow to the all-important summer travel season.
On Thursday, Ryanair Holdings Plc and the owner of Manchester and London Stansted airports plan to challenge the rules in court. They say a lack of transparency on how risk levels are assessed is undermining consumer confidence and hindering a travel-industry recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
According to a person familiar with the matter, the quarantine requirement could be lifted for people who have been double vaccinated, but they would still need to take tests. There are currently more than 160 countries and territories on the amber list, including popular European destinations such as Greece, Spain, France and the U.S.
The proposals are at an early stage and nothing concrete has been decided, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the policy has not been announced. The plan was first reported in the Telegraph.
Shares of Ryanair jumped as much as 4.3% in Dublin, their biggest intraday gain in almost two months. EasyJet Plc advanced 5% while British Airways owner IAG SA was up as much as 3.9% in London.