Booster jabs will not be required for travellers to the UK until 2022, transport secretary Grant Shapps has told reporters at Dubai’s Expo 2020 event.
According to UAE paper The National, Mr Shapps also said that he did not “see any prospect” of any major travel rule changes that would affect expats visiting for Christmas 2021.
Mr Shapps is at the Dubai event – which was postponed in 2020 after years of preparation – to “forge relationships” with global figures and UAE authorities, who the Department for Transport describes as “leaders in futuristic transport technology, from flying cars to self-driving trains”.
The UAE is one of the UK’s largest trading partners, bringing in almost £18 billion to the UK economy every year.
Speaking at the Expo’s UK Pavilion, Mr Shapps said that travel rules for people entering Britain would not change before the end of 2021, in a bid to reassure the many UAE-based British expats who may be travelling to the UK for the holidays.
“I’ve met with the relevant aviation minister in the UAE and we spoke about the issue of travel between the two countries,” he told reporters.
“We are very keen to keep the routes open, we absolutely want to do that and we do not see any prospect of anything else happening this Christmas.”
He also said that any changes to rules for incoming travellers regarding booster jab status would not be implemented before the new year.
“We all understand that boosters are the way forward,” he said.
“Even if people do not have their booster, they will still be able to come back [to the UK] as we are not making any rules changes this year.
“We are committed to not readdressing the booster situation until the new year, so there will not be any rule changes at our end.”
At the moment, fully vaccinated people with just two doses of an approved vaccine can enter the UK without quarantine.
Some countries have set time limits on the validity of a two-dose vaccination course, citing waning immunity after the first few months.
France recently added a time limit for getting a booster jab for visitors aged over 65, while health secretary Sajid Javid has said that this is something the UK will consider “in due course”.