Foreign holiday hopes raised after hints that quarantine system may be ditched

Prospects for foreign holidays this summer have massively improved following latest infection data on travellers returning from amber list destinations.

Scientists are reported to have discovered no evidence of new variants of concern from more than 23,000 people tested after returning to the UK.

Just one in 200 passengers from amber list countries tested positive for Covid-19 raising hopes that strict quarantine rules will be lifted for amber category countries.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he plans to scrap the requirement for people who have had two Covid-19 jabs and come into contact with an infected person to isolate for 10 days.

He said the approach is currently being piloted but will be introduced as soon as possible once clinicians have looked at the data.

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Under the plan, the 10-day quarantine period could be axed in favour of daily lateral flow tests.

He added: “We’re not ready to be able to take that step yet, but it’s something that I want to see and we will introduce, subject to clinical advice, as soon as it’s reasonable to do so.”

Asked whether the remaining restrictions are likely to be lifted before the new England road map date of July 19, Mr Hancock said experts will examine the figures shortly.

Strict rules on international travel remain in place as coronavirus restrictions ease in the UK

He said: “We are looking at the data, and we’ve said that we’ll take a specific look two weeks into the four-week delay that we had to put in place to get more people vaccinated, so we’ll do that.

“But I have every confidence that the more people get vaccinated, the easier it is (and) the safer it is to lift restrictions.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said data showed no reasons why restrictions should not be eased.

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