Green list expands as new traffic light list is unveiled
Double jabbed Brits returning from France will no longer need to quarantine, ministers have revealed in their new traffic light list.
The holiday hotspot has been moved from “amber plus” to amber in a boost for holidaymakers. However, arrivals from Spain are advised to take PCR test before departure because of the risk of importing the B.1.621 and Beta variants.
New green-listed countries are Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway. Double vaccinated and unvaccinated Brits can visit green list countries without needing to quarantine on return.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public.”
Additions to the red list include Mexico, Georgia, Réunion and Mayotte. Health secretary Sajid Javid said that these new countries were added to the red list “to help protect the success of our vaccine rollout from the threat of new variants.”
India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will be moved from the red list to the amber list. Double vaccinated holidaymakers can visit amber countries without needing to quarantine on return.
Unvaccinated travellers need to self-isolate for 10 days on return from amber destinations, taking two tests on day two and day eight.
The cost of hotel quarantine for a single adult arriving from a red list country will be increased by more than £500 to £2,285, representing a 30 per cent rise. Hotel quarantine costs for children up to the age of 12 will remain the same. The changes come into effect at 3am on August 8.
Mark Tanzer, the chief executive of the ABTA travel association, said: “The UK is falling behind our European competitors and the opening up of international travel from the UK is progressing at a snail’s pace – making it extremely difficult for travel agents and tour operators to generate enough income to kickstart a recovery, which is desperately needed to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods.”
Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO at Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “The latest traffic light review shows a true lack of ambition by the government in not opening the green list further. The summer has already been lost and any attempt to save summer is over. The removal of France from the newly created amber-plus list is, of course, a positive step but arguably it should never have been put into its own special category in the first place. Moving the UAE and Qatar – both of which are key international airport hubs particularly important for business travel – added to the amber list is welcomed but it’s important to be mindful of all entry restrictions too.
“Travellers returning from Spain appear to be given a choice of either taking the more expensive PCR as opposed to the current antigen pre-departure tests seems somewhat bizarre. The cost of hotel quarantine will be increasing for those returning from red list countries; however, for those who have no choice but to travel perhaps for overseas funerals are the ones who will continue to be penalised regardless of their vaccination status – let’s not forget that travel is more than just holidays.
“Outbound travel continues to be severely restricted and the government continue to fall behind some of our European counterparts who recognise the importance of opening up international travel and allowing free movement of their vaccinated citizens. We have one of the highest vaccination rollouts in the world and yet the we remain one of the most restricted when it comes to traveling internationally.
“Removing the pre-departure test would create more confidence among travellers. The testing regime needs to be simplified, particularly for those who are double vaccinated.”