British holidays have suffered a surprise blow today as ministers prepare to add No new countries in green list
Grant Shapps will give an official update on the green, amber and red lists for travel from the UK this afternoon.
But the Mirror understands that the transport secretary is planning not to add any new countries to the green list for quarantine-free travel – a move First reported by The Sun.
Instead he is set to add some amber countries with high infection rates to the red list – forcing Brits to enter £1,750-a-head hotel quarantine. The next set of changes are only due around June 28.
This comes despite hopes that the most popular Spanish and Green Islands will be added to the Green List today, effective next week.
Meanwhile it is still not known whether Portugal can become amber, only three weeks after British holidays were given the green light to go there without quarantine.
While it was already widely expected that major European hotspots such as Italy, mainland Spain and Greece would remain amber, there was hope in the travel industry that some destinations would turn green.
but boris johnson There seemed to be a sad note yesterday. Instead of talking about easing restrictions, he talked about tightening them in the face of new forms.
The prime minister said yesterday: “We will have no hesitation in moving countries from the green list to the amber list, to the red list, if we have to.”
Today’s announcement will be the first three-weekly update on the green list since overseas holiday travel was made legal on May 17.
The first edition of the Green List had only 12 countries and territories – many of which, like Australia, would not allow the British to enter anyway.
Britons returning from Green, Amber and Red List countries will all be required to fill out a locator form and take at least two COVID tests.
But crucially, people who come from Green List countries are not required to quarantine upon their return to the UK.
By comparison, those arriving from Amber countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days, while Red List arrivals require a mandatory £1,750 hotel stay.
The green ‘watchlist’ shows countries that are still rated green, but are at risk of becoming amber in the near future.
Ministers were considering isolating the biggest island hotspots from their host regions – allowing them to travel.
But the decision remained shrouded in mystery until the last minute as it relied on advice from the UK’s Joint Center for Biosafety.
Priority was to be given to the islands that take up the largest share of the UK tourism market.
Green List status is decided by a complex combination of factors, including:
- Variants in the country – including how widespread and permeable they are, and any evidence they evade a vaccine.
- Test and weekly case rate per 100,000 people, and % of tests coming back positive.
- If the country is safe, but has strong travel ties with other countries that have a bigger risk than variants.
- How good is that country at genomic sequencing – in other words, finding new variants.
- How good is the overall data in the country – in other words, if the low case rates can be trusted.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said many popular holiday destinations are “really worthy” to be taken to a low-risk level.
But Robert Boyle, former director of strategy at British Airways parent company IAG, also said Bahrain, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago and Kuwait “should be” on the red list because of “very high” infection rates.
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