People who’ve had two Covid jabs will be allowed to take a quarantine-free holiday this summer, according to reports.
Travel restrictions could be changed to open up tourism to countries listed as amber under the government’s traffic light system.
Plans to relax quarantine rules by July 26, a week after ‘freedom day’, are being thrashed out by ministers,
They would allow Brits to visit amber-rated destinations including France, Spain and Greece without finishing their trip with 10 days of self-isolation.
Most schools break up on July 23 and the scheme would pave the way for families with children to take a much-needed holiday abroad.
A senior government source said no decision has been made on the timing yet, ‘but the expectation is it will be the end of July or the beginning of August’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘Everybody who is frustrated about travel over the summer – double jabs will be a liberator.
‘I want travel to be possible but I’ve got to stress that this year will not be like every other year because of the difficulties with Covid. People shouldn’t expect it will be completely hassle free.’
Proof of having received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine is likely to be required, but exemptions could be made.
Officials still have a number of obstacles to work though, such as who will check vaccine status and what to do about children, who are yet to be offered the jab.
Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, said earlier this week that the scheme faced ‘complex and complicated issues’.
He told Times Radio: ‘We’ve got to think about how we manage this. There are people who are double-jabbed. There are a range of people who have only had one jab, not for any other reason than the timing.
‘Therefore we’ve got to make sure the system’s fair. Also, work through the details of what you do about children under 18 if families want to go abroad. These are really quite complex and complicated issues.
‘What we tried to do last week is give people a bit of a sense of the journey of travel. But I’ve also been very clear and open that there’s work to do on this.’
According to The Times, the appointment of Sajid Javid as Health Secretary, viewed as more hawkish on easing restrictions than his predecessor Matt Hancock, has prompted optimism for a change in approach to international travel.
But the unilateral UK plans may yet be scuppered if destination countries impose their own rules.
On Monday Malta said it would only accept double-jabbed visitors, effectively ending the chance for parents to take their children aged 12-17 there as this age group is not currently being offered vaccinations in the UK.
Germany requires visitors from the UK to quarantine for a fortnight – and chancellor Angela Merkel has been pushing for it to become an EU-wide rule, regardless of vaccination status.
Ms Merkel will fly over for a meeting with Boris Johnson next Friday when the Prime Minister is expected to urge her to back down.
The government is hoping to be able to persuade European nations to ditch quarantine requirements for double-jabbed Brits, with ambassadors told to make a case.
A source told the Times: ‘The big focus for us is Europe now. All European ambassadors have been told to go lobby.’