Fully vaccinated holidaymakers will be able to travel to amber list countries with their children from July 19 without having to quarantine, Grant Shapps has told MPs.
The Transport Secretary said all adults double jabbed with an NHS vaccine would no longer be required to self-isolate after visiting amber countries that include the holiday hotspots of Spain, Greece, France, Portugal and Italy.
The Government is also lifting its blanket recommendation that people should not travel to amber countries, although the Foreign Office may still advise against non-essential trips to some of the 140-plus destinations on the amber list.
All travellers aged over 18 will be expected to take a pre-departure test before flying back to the UK and will have to pay for a PCR test on or before day two, but they will not have to quarantine for 10 days as is required currently.
Children under 18 who have not been vaccinated will be exempt if they are travelling with someone who has been fully vaccinated, but most of them will still have to undergo PCR tests on their return to the UK because of the Government’s need to track any importation of variants.
Only children aged four or under will be free from having to take any tests. Those aged five to 10 will have to take a PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK, but they will not have to do a pre-departure test.
Children aged 11 to 18 will have to take a PCR test on day two and a pre-departure test, which could add up to £400 for a family of four.
Also exempt will be an estimated 500,000 people who have been part of official trials of vaccines which are not on the approved list and those who are unable to be fully vaccinated on medical grounds.
Foreign travellers who have not had the NHS vaccine will be excluded initially because of the difficulty of verifying their vaccination status. Unvaccinated Britons largely in their late teens, 20s and 30s will also still have to quarantine on their return from amber countries.
Quarantine-free travel has so far only been allowed to 27 destinations, of which only Malta, the Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Minorca, Madeira, Gibraltar and Iceland have been viable holiday choices.
Next week the Government will announce its expanded green list, which aviation experts say should include 20 more countries, including France, Italy and Norway.
Travellers from green list countries have to provide pre-departure test results and do a PCR test on day two of their return, which will continue.
Arrivals from red list countries will still be required to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel at a cost of up to £1,750, and take PCR tests on days two and eight.