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Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
14 July 2021
Last updated:

One of the biggest risks to the progress we have made in reducing the terrible effects of the pandemic on our lives is the importation of new variants of the virus, which our vaccines would provide less protection against. This is why we continue to caution against international travel for non-essential reasons this summer.

As the First Minister has set out today, we regret the UK Government’s decision to remove the requirement for adults who have been fully vaccinated to self-isolate when returning from amber list countries.

However, it would not be practical for us to introduce a separate border health policy. Therefore, from 19 July, fully vaccinated adults returning from amber list countries, and under-18s, will no longer need to self-isolate. They will need to continue to take a pre-departure and PCR test on day two following their arrival in the UK, and it will be very important to take care about physical contact with others. Visiting people in a hospital or care home during the first 10 days back should be avoided.

If they test positive for the virus or have any symptoms of coronavirus on their return, they will be required to self-isolate to help prevent further onward transmission.

In addition to the health risks arising from international travel, there are other important considerations for people to think about before deciding to travel. Most countries have set testing and/or quarantine requirements for anyone entering and these requirements change regularly. 

The four UK governments keep the traffic-light ratings of countries under continuous review and it is possible for a country to move from the amber list to the red list at any time. If this happens, travellers must spend a minimum of 10 days in hotel quarantine on their return to the UK at a cost of around £2,000 per person. 

Following the latest three-week review of red, amber and green country lists for international travel, we will continue to follow the same traffic-light approach as the rest of the UK. This means that from 19 July:

  • Bulgaria, Croatia, Hong Kong and Taiwan will move from the amber list to the green list.
  • The Balearic Islands and British Virgin Islands will move from the green list to the amber list.
  • Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone will move from the amber list to the red list.

These changes to the lists will come into effect at 4am on Monday 19 July.  

The need to move the Balearic Islands and British Virgin Islands from the green to the amber list after just three weeks shows how difficult it will be to plan ahead this summer.

This is the year to enjoy the summer in the UK.