The UK government said on Wednesday that people who were fully vaccinated in the EU and the US will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England, Scotland and Wales from an amber list country like Germany (excluding France as it is an ‘amber plus’ country) from Monday August 2nd.
The move potentially opens up travel to thousands of British people in Germany who’ve felt unable to visit home up to this point due to restrictions like having to quarantine for 10 days.
But it’s still no easy ride. There are strict testing rules dictating that travellers must take either an antigen or PCR test before departing for the UK and a PCR test on or before the second day after they arrive.
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There’s also the fear that rules could change in a split second, meaning people feel uneasy about making travel plans.
The Local asked readers to share their thoughts in quick survey on Thursday, and we also did a shout out on Twitter.
Summing up the general feeling, Peter J Callow, 59, in Hamburg, said a trip to the UK was now “troublesome but at least possible”.
‘It’s been too long’
Some people are elated. Mark Oiver, 57, in Dreieich has booked his flights back already. “It means I can now meet my family for the first time in nearly a year,” he said.
Yes am planning a trip back, and my parents are planning a trip out to visit – everything can change right up to the last minute, and I feel sorry for families with kids (much harder to be vaxxed and travel) but at least the new rules enable some form of workable travel
— sean (@stroberts2) July 29, 2021
was already planning to fly back next Friday and quarantine if required (it’s been too long…!) so am just quite relieved about the time and money saved! Felt particularly ridiculous that where you had your vaccine done could determine whether you had to quarantine or not..!
— Erin Goldfinch (@ErinGoldfinch) July 29, 2021
Phil Shaw, 67, based in Weimar, is planning to book a trip. “Much more feasible without quarantine at both ends,” he said, although he raised concerns about the cost of PCR tests in the UK and possible pricey airline ticket prices.
yes i’m planning a visit now that the quarantine for double jabs has been lifted. nervous given the levels of covid running rampant in the country.
— Nick Brookbank (@gingerarab) July 29, 2021
Fred Bergklo, 29, in Berlin said he had booked a trip home. “I had my second jab 2 days ago, and now I know this will let me avoid quarantine.”
It’s a welcome development. And although there’s always a risk of something changing I have planned a short trip back in October. Minus the family at the moment however so that if there are changes the financial loss is less.
— Neil Robertson (@NeilHHDiamond) July 29, 2021
Pete Michaels said the change in rules was welcome.
flew back on 19th to provide emergency care for Mum who was about to come out of hospital. Double-jabbed (in DE), tried to get status added to NHS app via GP but no joy. Paid £200 for 3x PCR tests & finally un-quarantined on 27th. It’s been tough. Rules were nuts, change welcome
— Pete Michaels (@rockandrollcopy) July 29, 2021
‘Restrictive and expensive’
Lots of people flagged up the enormous costs involved with testing in the UK, even if there will be less testing under the new rules.
Previously, people had to pay for day two and day eight mandatory tests, and a test for day five in England if they were opting for early release from quarantine. These test packages can cost anywhere from 150-200 pounds.
Some people – including children over six – also have to take a test in the UK to get back into Germany if they are not vaccinated.
Charlotte Kulow, 46, in Leipzig, said the rule change affects her family “only slightly”.
“We are vaccinated but it still costs 88 pounds to get a check (PCR test) on day two in Scotland. Plus none of my kids are vaccinated so they are required to quarantine on there return to Germany plus a PCR test for early release, so it’s still very restrictive and expensive for anyone with a family.”
Stuart Picton, 33, in Berlin, said: “Tests are still too expensive. Do not understand why a vaccinated person cannot just do a lateral flow/quick test. I do not understand how going on a plane wearing a face mask is considered a risk that requires PCR, whereas going to bars, nightclubs etc are considered ok with a rapid test (especially in the UK).
“Also politicians in all countries need to stop thinking that everyone is travelling just to go on holiday and therefore the trips are unnecessary. Some of us are trying to travel for our living and to see family and friends that we have not seen in months.”
Many readers said they are not planning to book a trip back to the UK just yet.
I haven't seen my family since February 2020 and I am not planning a trip back, mostly because I have unvaccinated kids and the UK cases are so many, I'm nervous about the ease of contracting the virus
— Rachel Preece (@rachelinmunich) July 29, 2021
Mark Murphy, 61, in Achern, Baden-Württemberg, said: “Yes, I am double-jabbed but still required to take two tests when the UK’s infection rate is much higher than Germany’s – ridiculous!”
I’m not planning a trip for the time being, but It’s honestly a relief that if I need to go home for an emergency, it will now be much simpler.
— Matt Evans (@MattEvans) July 29, 2021
I feel a lot of anxiety about going back to the UK from a lot of sources – post-Brexit Britain, their covid numbers, the possibility of sudden changes to travel rules. I haven't seen my family in 2 years but I don't know what to do atm.
— Marc with a c 🖋️ (@herryates) July 29, 2021
Thomas Boon, 25, in Frankfurt, who is planning to book a trip back to the UK, said: “I have a fear of NHS test and trace calling and telling me to isolate for 10 days because of somebody on the plane. Especially because I plan to travel for fewer than 10 days, so such a call would strand me.”
Some people remain undecided – especially as no one knows how the autumn will develop.
When I first heard the news I was all set but now I’m having doubts. But then with autumn/winter looming and rising cases means more potential travel restrictions ahead so who knows when I’ll next get the opportunity. I just don’t know.
— ℭ𝔥𝔢𝔩𝔩𝔢 𝔅𝔢𝔩𝔩𝔢 🌹 (@Shellybellylou) July 29, 2021
Thanks to everyone who shared their experience with us. Although we weren’t able to include all the submissions, we read each of them and they help inform our reporting.