No quarantine for Americans who enter the UK with a vaccine card

Nadhim Zahawi

Americans will be allowed to enter the UK and avoid quarantining if they produce vaccine cards proving they have been double-jabbed, as part of a drive to open up transatlantic travel.

Ministers are expected to sign off plans this week for US citizens arriving in the UK to be able to present the cards they were given when they were vaccinated as sufficient proof.

Britain is prepared to make the concession because the US has yet to develop a consistently used digital form of proof for vaccinations. It contrasts with the EU’s plans for a digital Covid certificate and the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used by Britons travelling abroad.

However, the US announced yesterday that it would not lift any of its present travel restrictions “at this point” because the Delta variant of the coronavirus was spreading rapidly.

Most European nations have relaxed restrictions on visitors from the US who are fully vaccinated. But the UK has kept the US on its amber list, meaning most arriving travellers must isolate for ten days.

Before the G7 summit in Cornwall last month Boris Johnson and President Biden launched a task force to make recommendations on safely restarting international travel.

Ministers are preparing to ease travel rules for expats returning to the UK from Sunday. British citizens living overseas who have had both doses of a coronavirus jab will no longer need to self-isolate when they arrive from an amber-list country, such as the US.

The exemption from quarantine at present applies only to people who were vaccinated under the UK programme, but the government plans to recognise foreign jabs.

In the Commons last week, Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said: “Because we are working at speed, at the moment it is UK nationals and citizens who have had UK vaccinations who will be able to travel to amber-list countries other than France and come back and not quarantine. We want to offer the same reciprocity as the 33 countries that recognise our app, and that will also happen very soon.”

The US has barred all non-essential travel to and from Europe. Biden said this month that an announcement on lifting the ban was likely within weeks. However, the increasing levels of coronavirus in the US have made that much less likely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US said that the Delta variant now accounted for 80 per cent of all new cases. Last week it said that the weekly average for new infections had risen by 53 per cent.

Vaccination rates have slowed in the US to such an extent that officials have begun referring to coronavirus as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”.