Friday’s change of rules mean fully vaccinated travellers from most of Europe will no longer have to take pre-departure Covid-19 tests or day two PCR tests when heading to England.
However, this may not apply to those with doses from different manufacturers (more on this below).
In the new rules — which initially apply for travel to England — the green list, which Austria is currently on, is being merged with the amber list to create a new list.
This means that arrivals into England will be put into two categories: those from red list countries and those from the rest of the world.
Vaccinated travellers from the rest of the world list will not have to take pre-departure Covid-19 tests or expensive day two PCR tests when heading to England. On day two, they can instead take a cheaper rapid antigen (lateral flow) test.
At the moment, these rules will only apply to England. However, the rest of the UK will probably follow suit as it has done with other travel rule changes. The new rules for England will come into effect on Monday, October 4th.
Travellers will still need to fill out the passenger locator form. You can read in full about the announcement here.
How does this affect travel from Austria?
Austria will be placed in the rest of the world category. For most of those who are fully vaccinated with two doses of the same vaccine, this will make travel much easier and cheaper between the two countries due to relaxed rules on testing.
However the change of rules also spelt bad news and indeed an effective tightening of restrictions for many in Austria.
Those who were vaccinated in Austria (and anywhere in the world for that matter) and received two different vaccines are not classified as fully vaccinated under the UK’s existing Covid border rules.
And those who have recovered from Covid-19 and only received one jab in Austria are also not considered fully vaccinated.
The Local is asking for clarification after the British embassy in Berlin and the Department of Health in the UK contradicted each other with regard to travellers who have had two doses from two different manufacturers.
These are not new rules as such, but are effectively new for travellers from Austria because when Austria was on the green list vaccination status did not matter.
This means those two groups of travellers will have to isolate for ten days on arrival into England, take a pre-departure test, and book the pricey day two and eight PCR test package. The option to end the isolation period early via the Test to Release scheme will remain.
Unvaccinated travellers from Austria to the UK also have to quarantine and take pre-departure tests as well as on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.
This will come as a bitter blow to those in Austria with plans to visit England soon as the country has been mixing mRNA vaccine doses Moderna and Pfizer since the summer.
What makes this even more frustrating for Brits in Norway is that England will accept mixed doses from several countries from outside the EU, such as Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, and more, but not from the 15 European countries mixing serums.