Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.
This article was updated on Thursday, July 29 at 8:31 a.m.
The United Kingdom government says that fully vaccinated travellers from the European Union and United States are now allowed to skip mandatory quarantine upon arrival into England and Scotland – but travellers coming from Canada, even if fully vaccinated, will still have to quarantine.
The changes begin on Aug. 2, according to a news release from the U.K. government issued on July 28.
The policy is part of a “range of new measures designed to continue to drive forward the reopening of international travel,” the release reads.
Under the new system, from 4 a.m. on Aug. 2, 2021, passengers who are fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or in the USA with vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or in the Swiss vaccination programme, will be able to travel to England and Scotland without having to quarantine or take a day eight test on arrival.
“Amber arrivals” – part of a colour-coded list of rules for entry that sorts countries based on risk level – who have been fully vaccinated in U.S. and European countries will still be required to complete a pre-departure test before arrival alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival.
Even though Canada is on the Amber list, the changes, for some reason, do not apply to Canadians, as CBC News confirmed with the U.K. Department for Transport on Wednesday.
The U.K. Department for Transport has not yet explained why Canada is excluded, the report says.
The other two countries that make up the U.K. (Wales and Northern Ireland) did not change their rules, which means Canadians arriving in those regions must still must self-isolate upon arrival.
So for now, travellers from Canada to the U.K. will still be required to quarantine at home or in the place they're staying for 10 days and take a COVID-19 test on or after their eighth day.
“We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the U.S. while further cementing ties with our European neighbours," said U.S. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement.
The U.K. update also includes the restart of international cruise sailings and "bespoke testing programmes" for certain groups of workers.
"To further support the safe restart of international cruise travel, the government and cruise industry have signed a breakthrough memorandum of understanding to help the industry build back from COVID-19 while protecting British nationals from future pandemic-related disruption," reads a government statement.
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