'Relief' for travel firms in Portsmouth as rules eased for amber list countries

TRAVEL companies based in Portsmouth have welcomed the announcement that doubly vaccinated people coming from amber list countries will no longer need to isolate – saying the ‘storm clouds are lifting.’

Transport secretary Grant Shapps told the House of Commons today that from 4am on July 19 those who have had two vaccines will not have to quarantine on return.

As part of the easing of restrictions the government’s recommendation to not travel to amber countries for holidays will also be lifted.

Southsea-based travel consultant for Not Just Travel, Zoe Harmer, said: ‘This is definitely needed.

Brittany Ferries chief executive Christophe Mathieu welcomed the change to travel rules. Picture: Sarah Standing (290620-689)

‘The past year has just been absolutely devastating for the whole industry. Travel agents have still been working to re-book holidays for customers as the rules kept changing but without being paid as they don’t see any money until the holiday actually goes ahead.

‘So this is a huge relief. Obviously the government needed to weigh up the data to make sure it is safe but fingers crossed these rules can stay in place for a while.

‘People must remember though to check the entry requirements to the countries they are visiting.’

Countries on the amber list include France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

Christophe Mathieu, the chief executive of Brittany Ferries - which runs ferries to France from Portsmouth International Port, said: ‘This is the news we have been waiting for all year.

‘Finally, the storm clouds are lifting and the sun is beginning to shine. We expect an avalanche of demand in the weeks ahead and my message to our customers is clear: We have availability, so now is a great time to book a holiday and we can’t wait to serve you all.’

As part of the travel changes children under 18 will be exempt from quarantine as long as they are travelling with a fully vaccinated adult. Under-fours will continue to be exempt from travel testing.

Those aged five to 10 will need to do a day two swab test. And children aged between 11 and 18 will need to take both a pre-departure test and a day two test.

‘Of course it won’t be quite so easy for families with unvaccinated children and teenagers, Mr Mathieu added.

‘However, the progress the UK has made with its vaccination programme means that the vast majority of adults are covered by the new rules. For us this is great news.’

Adults travelling to amber list countries will have to take tests before they travel home and two days after they arrive in the UK. But there will be no need for a day eight test.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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