Fully vaccinated travel to amber list countries is much safer than non-vaccinated holidaymakers visiting green list destinations, new research has revealed.
Analysis of Public Health England (PHE) data shows that double vaccinations reduce the risk by nearly two-thirds compared with someone unvaccinated returning from a green country.
The research will strengthen calls for the Government to go ahead with plans to allow fully vaccinated holidaymakers to visit amber list countries without having to quarantine on their return.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is drawing up proposals for vaccinated travel to amber countries, which are expected to be considered by ministers next week.
Airlines UK wrote to Boris Johnson on Friday urging him to adopt the scheme in time for the June 28 review of the Government’s traffic light system for travel, enabling summer holidays to restart in July to the most popular destinations of France, Spain, Greece and Italy, which are currently amber.
Travel countries on the red, green and amber list
The research, by Robert Boyle, who was BA’s director of strategy, calculated the risk of transmission and infection for double vaccinated people arriving in the UK from amber countries in Europe based on their infection and jab rates.
Using PHE data, he calculated that the risk was equivalent to an unvaccinated holidaymaker going to a country with a Covid infection rate of just 7.5 cases per 100,000 of the population.
That is well below the 37 cases per 100,000 case rate of Portugal when it was placed on the green list by the Government.
It is also significantly below the rate of 20 cases per 100,000 that the Government used for determining green list countries last year when no one was vaccinated.
The calculation also does not take account of the far more intensive testing regime now in place compared with last year, with even those returning from green list countries having to take PCR tests.
Mr Boyle said the research demonstrated why the Government should open up foreign travel to amber countries for fully vaccinated holidaymakers and travellers.
"There are several important advantages that such a policy would bring. Firstly, it gets away from the start/stop problem, since people don’t become unvaccinated as time goes by," he said.
"Next, it automatically allows a progressive opening up of travel as vaccination programmes move forward. Because vaccination programmes are more predictable than case rates, it helps airlines and travellers to plan with much more confidence.
"Finally, it also provides an additional incentive for people to get their vaccinations. Vaccine hesitancy will soon start to become the limiting factor rather than supply, even in countries like the UK with high take up rates.
"That’s a benefit that might even appeal to the advisors who are focusing purely on the public health risk side of the equation."
The 43 hotel quarantine ‘red list’ countries
There are only 11 countries currently on the UK’s green list, with just Gibraltar, Iceland and Israel seen as viable holiday destinations.
Portugal was the only major European country to be included in the initial green list before its removal because of concerns over rising infection rates and a Nepalese mutation of the Delta or Indian variant.
It is feared that a double vaccination strategy for travel will not be in place for July, although industry and Tory MPs are piling on pressure for a quicker opening up.