LONDON: Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from countries on Britain’s “amber list” for international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic are set to avoid quarantine from as early as July 19, British media reported=on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, London’s Heathrow airport said it plans to offer fast-track lanes for fully-vaccinated arriving passengers, as the UK government winds down its pandemic curbs.

Heathrow said it was launching a pilot for passengers coming from selected destinations to enter an immigration fast track on arrival, after showing proof they have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

“This pilot will allow us to show that pre-departure and arrival checks of vaccination status can be carried out safely at check-in, so that fully vaccinated passengers can avoid quarantine from July 19,” Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said.

The Times newspaper said government ministers would meet this week to approve a policy that will allow people to travel from amber destinations on the three-tier traffic-light system without isolating for up to 10 days.

At present, travellers arriving from a country on the amber list, which includes top tourist destinations Spain, France, the United States and Italy, are required to isolate on arrival.

The Sun said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps would unveil the rule change on Thursday, and reported that travellers will be required to take a test before they return to Britain and then a PCR test on the second day of return.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out plans on Monday for the final step in easing England’s COVID-19 lockdown, including the removal of laws governing social distancing and face coverings, and an end to official advice to work from home.

The government did not immediately comment on Wednesday.

Seeking to convince the government that scrapping quarantine for vaccinated travellers is logistically possible, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport are set this week to start checking the vaccine status of passengers arriving on flights into Britain.

After over 15 months of travel restrictions, airlines and the travel industry want Britain to relax strict rules which have kept its finances in the doldrums.

“The trial aims to reassure government that airlines and airports can check vaccine status upstream and away from the border, ensuring no further pressure in UK immigration halls,” the three companies said in a statement on Wednesday.

Passengers will use airline apps to verify their vaccine status.

ABTA, the UK industry body representing 4,300 travel brands, has also urged the government to make good on proposals to relax quarantine rules for fully vaccinated individuals visiting countries on the amber list.

Source: Gulf News