Vaccinated Brits will be able to travel to Europe without tests or quarantine under EU plan agreed today

VACCINATED Brits are set to be able to travel to Europe this summer without tests or quarantine under EU plans agreed today.

Brussels has green-lighted new rules that will see the UK added to its “white list” of safe countries as early as Friday.

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Vaccinated Brits could soon be jetting off to Europe again[/caption]

But diplomats have warned that date could slip as the bloc nervously watches the spread of the Indian variant here.

The new move is designed to open up the continent’s battered tourism industry in time for the high summer season.

Up until now Brussels has had a strict ban on non-essential travel from almost all parts of the globe.

Only half a dozen countries with incredibly low Covid rates, like Australia and New Zealand, had made its white list.

Now the criteria have been loosened, meaning the UK is very likely to qualify thanks to our stellar vaccination rollout.

Brussels has set the new threshold at 75 cases per 100,000 people. Britain’s current rate is 22 per 100,000.

But there will be an “emergency brake” allowing Member States to slam shut their borders to keep out new variants.

And EU diplomats say the worried messages coming out of Downing St over the Indian variant are giving them “second thoughts”.

They fear adding the UK to the list only to have to remove us within days.

Ben Queenborough/PinPep
European countries are keen to welcome back UK tourists[/caption]
Reuters
Portugal flung open its doors to the UK on Monday[/caption]

Germany has already reclassified Britain as a “risk” area over the emergence of the strain.

An EU spokesman said countries will “ease some of the current restrictions, in particular for those vaccinated with an EU authorised vaccine”.

He added: “The Council should also soon expand the list of non-EU countries with a good epidemiological situation from where travel is permitted based on the new criteria agreed today.

“This will help progressively resume international inbound travel where it’s possible to do so safely, while at the same time ensuring quick action to counter the spread of new virus variants.”

Asked when vaccinated travellers might be able to start taking advantage of the new rules, he replied: “These things can go quite swiftly.”

All of the vaccines currently in use in the UK – Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna – are also authorised by the EU’s medicines agency.

The plan agreed today says Member States should “lift restrictions on non-essential travel for vaccinated persons travelling to the EU”.

It says: “This reflects the latest scientific advice showing that vaccination considerably helps to break the transmission chain.

“If Member States decide to waive the requirements to present a negative PCR test and/or to undergo quarantine for vaccinated persons on their territory, they should also waive such requirements for vaccinated travellers from outside the EU.”

The policy is only a recommendation, meaning it’s not legally binding on EU countries.

Instead, individual European states will retain ultimate control over the conditions for entering their borders.

An EU source said: “British travellers will still need to look into the national policies of the countries they’re travelling to.”

And for now it will be up to each country to decide whether they will accept the NHS app as proof of vaccination.

That may change in the end of June when the bloc’s own vaccine passport is set to be up and running.

From then on the entire EU will be able to enter into deals with countries like Britain to mutually recognise each other’s Covid certificates as valid.

The announcement comes amid confusion between ministers over what kind of travel to amber countries is allowed.

They have urged people not to take holidays to those destinations – which includes almost all of Europe – but admit there’s no law against it.

So far Portugal is the only EU state on the green list of quarantine-free getaway destinations.



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