Holidays: Simon Calder predicts new UK green list countries
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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last night announced that quarantine rules are to be relaxed for “later in the summer” in an easing of the traffic light travel warning system. But he said details of the relaxation in the rules will not come until next month, in a blow to families hoping to plan a summer break. Mr Shapps also announced that popular holiday islands Malta, Madeira and the Balearic Islands will go on the safe travel “green list” next week.
Sun-seekers will be able to travel to the popular destinations as well as a string of UK overseas territories and Caribbean islands including Barbados from 4am on July 30.
Mr Shapps said: “We’re moving forward with efforts to safely reopen international travel this summer. Thanks to the success of our vaccination programme, we’re now able to consider removing the quarantine period for fully vaccinated UK arrivals from amber countries – showing a real sign of progress.
“It’s right that we continue with this cautious approach, to protect public health and the vaccine rollout as our top priority, while ensuring that our route out of international travel restrictions is sustainable.”
When the two jabs relaxation comes into effect, travellers will still be expected to take Covid tests before their return to the UK and two days after returning.
In a warning signal, the countries going on the green list next week will also join the Government’s “green watch list”, of those at risk of returning to the “amber” alert level.
Israel and Jerusalem, where cases of the Delta Covid variant have been rising, were also put on the “green watch list”.
Meanwhile, Eritrea, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda are to be added to the high-alert “red list”, the Government said. Ministers agreed the changes following data and analysis from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) yesterday.
The announcement was held up amid reports of squabbling over the details of the rules among leaders of the devolved administrations. Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “It is very positive news that ministers are following the science and that fully vaccinated people will be able to travel safely without quarantine later this summer.
“We are a cosmopolitan country, a small island with strong links to the rest of the world. Exporters want to get out and sell their goods to the world, families want to reconnect after a year of separation. We will work with the Government to make this happen as soon as possible and let Britain fly!”
Earlier yesterday, Boris Johnson warned that travel will be “different” this summer.
Speaking during a visit to New Normandy Barracks in Aldershot, the Prime Minister said: “I’m not going to claim this summer, for travel purposes, is going to be like any other summer.
“I don’t want to cast a pall over things but, as I said the other day, it will be different.”
Speaking about the two jabs exemption, the Prime Minister said: “The real opportunity we all have now is to open up travel through the double jab.
“If you look at it we’ve got more than 60 percent of our population having now had two jabs. I think 83 percent have had one jab, we’re really getting through it.”
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