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England, Scotland exclude Canadians from new exception to quarantine measures

OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadian travellers have been left out of plans to ease quarantine restrictions for entry to England and Scotland.
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OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadian travellers have been left out of plans to ease quarantine restrictions for entry to England and Scotland.

The United Kingdom countries announced Wednesday that travellers who were fully vaccinated in the United States or Europe will not have to quarantine upon arrival.

The changes are set to go in place at 4 a.m. on August 2.

The English and Scottish governments did not provide a reason why Canada was not included in the new quarantine exceptions.

The countries involved in the exceptions include European Union member states apart from France, members of the European free trade agreement and the microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City.

That means Canadians landing in England or Scotland must quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days and take a COVID-19 test after day eight.

The other two countries that make up the U.K. — Wales and Northern Ireland — did not change their rules, meaning Canadians also still must self-isolate upon arrival in these states.

The British High Commission in Canada said in a statement that the U.K. government is taking a "phased approach" to easing COVID-19 travel restrictions.

"Ensuring safe and open travel is a priority and we are engaging with international partners on certification to ensure travel for vaccinated people is unhindered in the future," the commission said.

English Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new measures are meant to help family members visit each other, and to help businesses benefit from increased trade.

"We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward," Shapps said in a news release.

"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."

Michael Matheson, the Scottish transport secretary, said in a statement that the changes have been made possible due to the success of vaccination programs in Scotland, the EU and U.S.

“Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to travel to Scotland under this significant relaxation of international travel measures, providing a boost for the tourism sector and wider economy while ensuring public health is protected," he said.

The countries said quarantine rules will still apply to arrivals who have been in France over the previous 10 days, with Scotland citing concerns about the prevalence of the Beta COVID-19 variant.

In Vancouver, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was asked on Wednesday about the countries' decisions and she said she respects them.

"I have a great deal of respect for every country's sovereign right to decide during COVID who can come into the country and on what terms."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press