Children may be allowed to travel from amber list countries without having to quarantine on arrival in Britain, ITV News understands.The health secretary said on Tuesday that the government is “working on” plans for quarantine-free travel for Britons who have had both doses of the Covid vaccine when they return from amber list countries.
Matt Hancock confirmed ministers are looking at how to scrap the requirement for people to isolate for 10 days on return from an amber list destination.
Unvaccinated children are also understood to be included in the plans for quarantine-free travel.
ITV News understands ministers are looking at proposals and that an announcement will be made at the end of the week. Proposals adopted within this time frame would potentially allow for travel before the end of the school holidays.Mr Hancock said: “We are working on what extra freedoms people can have when they are double vaccinated but we’re not there yet.”
He told ITV News: “The whole purpose of the vaccination programme is to be able to protect people through the vaccine with the testing alongside it, rather than protect people through the restrictions that we’ve had to have in place.
“That is the goal, it’s what we’re working on – we’re not there yet and we’re cautious about international travel but we want to get there.”
However, speaking on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged caution, saying that “whatever happens” this year will be “a difficult” one for travel.
“There will be hassle, there will be delays, I am afraid, because the priority has got to be to keep the country safe and stop the virus coming back in.”
Mr Johnson did say it was “very important we look at the opportunities for all of us over the coming months from two jabs” after suggestions quarantine periods could be shortened or removed for those fully vaccinated against the virus.
Mr Hancock also said the main NHS App, which is different from the Covid-19 App, is “important” as countries are likely to need proof of vaccination status of Britons travelling abroad.
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“We can now, all of us, see our vaccine status, see your testing status, on the NHS App,” he told Sky News.
He added: “Six million people have now downloaded the main NHS App and on that you can show whether you have had the jabs.
“It’s important because we know other countries are going to say that they want proof that you have been vaccinated before you go.
“So, when travel is opened up, we are going to make sure people have got that ability to prove it.”
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His comments come as UK travel firms consider taking legal action against the government in relation to restrictions on foreign trips.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel trade organisation Abta, said he wants to find out what analysis has been carried out in Whitehall about the impact of travel rules on businesses.
Asked at the Travel Matters conference whether Abta could sue the Government, Mr Tanzer replied: “We’re looking at whether or not that is an avenue that we can pursue.
“The hurdle for suing the Government is high but we think at least the Government needs to say, did it measure the impact on the travel sector of its own policies, and if it did, did it then decide that the sector nonetheless wasn’t worthy of support.”
Mr Tanzer issued a “heartfelt plea for political change” in relation to restrictions on international travel.
Noting that outbound travel is influenced by several Government departments, he said the sector is not content to be “a political orphan”.
He added: “Clear accountability for the welfare of the outbound travel sector needs to be given to a designated minister.
“Our economic contribution is weighty. More money is spent in the UK by British citizens prior to travelling abroad than is spent by international visitors and the job creation or destruction potential is huge.
“I say to government: put aside any misguided prejudices against outbound travel. We are ready to work together, show us that you are.”
The present rules state travellers returning from a green list country are not required to enter quarantine, but there are no major viable tourist destinations in that tier following the removal of Portugal.
The amber list includes most popular summer hotspots such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece.
The first “checkpoint” review since the traffic light system was introduced is due to take place on June 28.
Stay up to date with the changing travel situation in the UK and abroad with news, information and advice at itv.com/holidaynews