No date is set for any change in the restrictions, although Boris Johnson has pledged to offer vaccines to everyone over 18 by July 19. This would mean that at that point, no adult could be discriminated against abroad by not being vaccinated and having to continue in quarantine upon their return.
It follows research from Public Health England (PHE), cited by the Prime Minister, which found that the Pfizer vaccine was 96% effective against hospitalization with the delta Covid variant after two doses and the AstraZeneca vaccine effective at 92 %.
Tony Blair, the former prime minister and one of the early supporters of vaccine passports, told the Telegraph on Wednesday that the government should “cut the ball” and introduce passports for domestic and international travel.
He said current government policy “literally makes no sense” in terms of practical travel arrangements, racing to achieve collective immunity, or managing the daily risks of Covid infections.
Tim Alderslade, Managing Director of Airlines UK, said: “The good news from PHE that vaccines are very effective against the delta variant after a full dose is further evidence that fully vaccinated passengers can be safely exempted from quarantine and testing restrictions for green and amber countries.
“This is already happening in Europe and around the world, and with two-thirds of UK adults expected to be completely bitten by July 19, there is no reason why such a move cannot happen now to save the summer season and allow people to get away from loved ones.
“It would be proportionate and evidence-based and fully consistent with the government’s approach of using our vaccine dividend to safely unlock society and kick-start the economy.”
Karen Dee, Managing Director of the Airport Operators Association, said: “The UK should follow the lead of the US and the EU, which are reducing restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers, and give the British their vaccine dividend. “
John Holland-Kaye, Managing Director of Heathrow Airport, said: “The government is convinced that vaccinations are effective – people who have been fully vaccinated should therefore surely be able to travel without the need for quarantine or pass expensive tests.
“The freedom to travel will not only inspire people in this country to get vaccinated, it will also show other countries the benefits of stepping up their vaccination programs.”
Mr Hancock told MPs on Wednesday he supported a testing system as a potential alternative to self-isolation for people who may have come into contact with Covid.