Fully vaccinated British expats abroad will be able to avoid quarantine when returning to the UK under plans being drawn up by ministers
- Move would make family reunions and other trips to UK much easier for expats
- Announcement confirming the policy could come as early as next week
- British expats whose jabs were administered abroad will still have to quarantine
British expats fully vaccinated abroad will be able to sidestep quarantine when returning to the UK under plans being drawn up by ministers.
The move would make family reunions and other leisure trips to the UK much easier for the 5.5millon or so British citizens living abroad.
An announcement confirming the policy could come as early as next week, the Mail understands.
Under new rules coming into force on Monday, fully vaccinated Britons returning to the UK from more than 140 amber list countries will be able to sidestep quarantine if their jabs were administered by the NHS.
It means British expats whose jabs were administered abroad will still have to quarantine for up to ten days on arrival, even if the vaccine they received is approved in Britain.
The move would make family reunions and other leisure trips to the UK much easier for the 5.5millon or so British citizens living abroad
Dropping that requirement could make family reunions and other important trips possible for expats only able to visit for a week or two before needing to return to where they live for work or other commitments.
Having to self-isolate means they face having to remain in a hotel or wherever they are staying for up to ten days before being able to leave to meet with friends and family.
Britons returning from abroad can show proof that they have received both doses via the NHS app.
But it is understood one issue is that the technology needs to be adapted so foreign-administered doses can be registered on the system.
Kate Can, 28, originally from Basildon in Essex, moved to Turkey in 2014 where she now lives with husband Orcun Can, 33, and their 18-month-old daughter, Ela.
They have been unable to return to the UK since Christmas to see Mrs Can’s parents in Essex.
She believes Turkey, currently on the red list, could soon return to amber as the Covid situation there has improved and said extending the side-stepping of quarantine to expats would make returning for a family reunion possible.
Dropping that requirement could make family reunions and other important trips possible for expats only able to visit for a week or two before needing to return to where they live for work or other commitments
She said: ‘It would make a huge amount of difference because we’d be able to come and immediately see family and meet up with people.
‘Without that, especially with our work commitments and my husband’s working patterns, it would be difficult.
‘Extending it to expats would mean we’d be able to come and see family and come and go in the space of a week or two.
‘If we had to quarantine, even if at my parents’ house rather than a hotel, it would mean no one else could come and visit us and it would make things difficult.’
The development came as First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, attacked the UK government’s move to relax restrictions for double-jabbed people arriving from amber countries.
He said the change ran the risk of ‘re-importation’ of Covid back into the country and that the previous regime of making all amber arrivals quarantine regardless of whether they have been vaccinated was ‘more sensible and proportionate’.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: ‘I do regret the fact that the Prime Minister has decided that [fully vaccinated] people returning from amber list countries do not require to self-isolate.
‘I think it runs the risk of re-importation of the virus into the United Kingdom, I think it runs the risk of new variants cropping up elsewhere in the world coming into the UK and into Wales.
‘I think the previous regime was a more sensible and proportionate one.’
He added: ‘When people are on holiday, they will behave in the way that people on holiday behave.
‘They will be mixing with more people, they will be doing the sorts of things that bring them into contact with one another.
‘Here in Wales in September of last year, we ended up with considerable difficulties caused by the re-importation of the virus.
‘People (went) on holiday to many other parts of the world and when they came back to Wales, they were already infected.
‘That drove a new rise in infections here in Wales. We can avoid that and it’s a risk we don’t need to run.’
Despite the comments, Wales has decided to follow suit and adopt the new amber rules along with England.
On Wednesday, Mr Drakeford said he ‘regretted’ the UK government’s move but that it would have been ‘untenable for Wales to adopt a different border health policy.’
The Welsh government is still advising people to holiday domestically.
Scotland has also decided to adopt the new amber rules for returning travellers.
Although double-jabbed Britons returning from amber countries will be able to sidestep quarantine from Monday, they will still be required to take two tests.
One of these must be taken within three days of returning to the UK and can be a rapid antigen swab if it meets certain standards, while the second must be a ‘gold standard’ PCR test taken no later than day two on arrival in the UK.
Non-fully vaccinated people will still have to quarantine when returning from amber countries.
Around 5.5 million British expats live overseas, including 1.2million in Europe, the vast majority of which is on the amber list.
Most of these are in Spain, where there are around 760,000 expats, many of them retirees.
This post originally posted here United Kingdom News