Hancock plans to scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated amber-list travellers

Government ‘working on’ ending requirement in England for 10 days’ isolation upon return

Ministers are planning to allow quarantine-free travel to amber-list countries for people in England who have been fully vaccinated, the health secretary has said.

Matt Hancock confirmed that ministers were considering how to scrap the requirement for people to isolate for 10 days on return from a country on the list, adding he was is “in favour of moving forward in this area”.

Asked if these plans could be in place as soon as August, Hancock said: “We’ll get there when it’s safe to do so.”

He told Sky News: “This hasn’t been clinically advised yet – we’re working on it,” adding that the government wanted to allow “the vaccine to bring back some of the freedoms that have had to be restricted to keep people safe”.

Hancock also said the government was “on track” for the easing of restrictions next month but acknowledged that opening up travel abroad was “more difficult”.

“Thankfully, because of the vaccination programme, we have been able to free up a huge number of the restrictions here at home,” he said. ”We are on track to deliver the step 4, the further openings, on July 19, which is good.”


Hancock was also pushed on the government’s social care plan for England and whether it would be delivered this year. He said it was a priority but declined to answer a question about whether a key meeting on this between him, the prime minister and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, had been postponed.

“Absolutely I am not going to get into diary management,” Hancock said. “I talk to the prime minister every single day and we’re working very closely together on the delivery of this policy.

“We absolutely were working on the plan before the pandemic struck but, you will understand, and your viewers will undoubtedly understand, that when the pandemic struck it was all hands on deck to protect lives and to get us out of this as fast as possible, and the vaccine is doing that.”

The health secretary said there would be a ramped-up flu vaccination drive this winter owing to concerns about a tough period ahead as influenza and Covid would be circulating.

“It is because we did not see any other communicable disease last winter in any serious size at all, and the clinical concern is that our immunity will be lower, fewer people had flu … almost no one has had it for 18 months,” he said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“We are currently doing all the work to see if can have a Covid booster shot and flu jab at the same time and that will help to manage this in the winter, but this winter will be challenging.”

“We do need to make sure we protect the NHS this coming winter. We have got time to do the preparation for that now, though, and make sure we are as vaccinated as possible because that is the way to keep people safe.”

Contributor

Sarah Marsh

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Fully vaccinated people in England may not need to isolate, Hancock says
Health secretary looking to drop 10-day ‘stay at home’ order for those in close contact with person infected with Covid

Aubrey Allegretti Political correspondent

21, Jun, 2021 @11:57 AM

Article image
Airport hotel chain 'kept in dark' over UK Covid quarantine plan
Best Western boss says it offered to help with scheme for arrivals but has not been contacted

Maya Wolfe-Robinson

04, Feb, 2021 @10:05 AM

Article image
Shapps ends quarantine rule for fully vaccinated amber-list travellers
New regime from 19 July could open up many tourist hotspots to English holidaymakers

Jessica Elgot and Gwyn Topham

08, Jul, 2021 @10:38 AM

Article image
Covid vaccine could be ready for rollout next month, says Hancock
Health secretary says NHS is preparing for mass rollout but stresses ‘we’re not there yet’

Simon Murphy Political correspondent

10, Nov, 2020 @10:07 AM

Article image
Military will help distribute Covid-19 vaccine, says Hancock
Health secretary tells Tory conference a vaccine is the ‘great hope’ as he hails Covid app

Alexandra Topping and Lisa O'Carroll

04, Oct, 2020 @6:01 PM

Article image
Care home staff could be required to have Covid vaccine, says Matt Hancock
Health secretary announces consultation, but operators fear it could worsen staff shortages

Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent

14, Apr, 2021 @3:07 PM

Article image
NHS England staff should have Covid vaccine before winter, Hancock says
Former health secretary warns ministers against delaying mandatory jabs for health workers

Jamie Grierson

08, Nov, 2021 @8:17 AM

Article image
‘No quarantine’ for vaccinated amber list arrivals in England
Ministers expected to announce rule change for fully-vaccinated people in boost for travel industry

Peter Walker Political correspondent

07, Jul, 2021 @10:53 AM

Article image
Matt Hancock confirms dip in UK Covid vaccine supply for April
Health secretary says stocks will be affected by need to retest 1.7m doses and delay from India

Jessica Elgot and Michael Safi

18, Mar, 2021 @4:27 PM

Article image
Matt Hancock’s measles misunderstanding | Letter
Letter: Prof Jeremy Dale takes issue with the health secretary’s views on herd immunity, and is concerned by the ignorance and misinformation circulating

Letters

16, Oct, 2020 @3:51 PM