We must be ‘careful’ with international travel, says Matt Hancock
No new countries will be added to the green list today, according to reports.
There were hopes that a smattering of Greek islands, the Canaries and Malta could be added to the government’s “green list” on Thursday, raising hopes for an expanded choice of destinations for summer holidays.
However, the red list is expected to expand.
International travel for leisure purposes resumed on 17 May in Britain under a traffic light system.
Just 12 destinations are on the UK government’s green “safe” list for travel, which measures the risk of Covid reimportation. The list was first revealed on 7 May, with Portugal the only mainstream holiday country to be included, alongside Gibraltar, Iceland and Israel.
Portugal is now understood to be in jeopardy.
Green list returnees don’t need to quarantine, although they still need to present a negative Covid test before departure to the UK, and a PCR test within two days of arrival.
The red and amber lists are also expected to be shuffled on Thursday.
Follow live for traffic light reshuffle news and reaction.
Portugal looks set to move to amber list
Portugal, the only mainstream holiday destination on the green list that is currently accessible to Britons, is reportedly set to tumble to the amber list in today’s travel update, in a further blow for holidaymakers.
Boris Johnson warned last night that the government “will not hesitate” in moving countries off the green list, if infections start to creep up.
Ministers are reported to have decided early on Thursday to remove Portugal, says the Telegraph.
The move will stymie British holidaymakers who have planned to travel to Portugal or Madeira in the coming weeks.
Read the full story here.
Helen Coffey3 June 2021 14:16
No expansion of travel green list ‘defies logic’
The travel industry is bracing for more company collapses and tens of thousands of additional job losses after government leaks indicated no more countries or islands would be added to the “green list”.
At present only Portugal and Gibraltar are viable summer-sun destination with no quarantine required on return to the UK. There are suggestions that Portugal may be removed from the green list.
Malta was fully expecting to be on the green list, with other candidates from Finland to a sprinkling of Greek islands making the cut.
Robert Boyle, analyst for Gridpoint Consulting, said: “In theory, we know what is being measured and the data sources being used, as the government has published that.
“What we don’t know is what the thresholds are and how they get from the data to the decisions.
“I think the truth is they follow the opinion polls.”
Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel consultancy The PC Agency said: “This decision will further threaten tens of thousands of jobs in aviation and travel, not to mention further damage consumer confidence.
“The data shows several countries should be green so the government’s decision defies logic. Summer is being squeezed by a policy of fear.”
Read travel correspondent Simon Calder’s full report here.
Helen Coffey3 June 2021 14:03
Grenada ‘extremely disappointed’ not to make green list
Grenada, tipped to be one of the new additions to the UK’s green list in its travel update, has said it is “extremely disappointed” to learn it will not be given the green light.
The Hon. Dr.Clarice Modeste Curwen, minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Climate Resilience and the Environment for Grenada, said: “We are extremely disappointed that Grenada was not added to the UK’s green list. It’s a huge blow for both holidaymakers and the travel and tourism sector. Grenada has had just 161 cases of Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic and we have reported zero new cases locally since February.
“We’re proud to have successfully started rebuilding our tourism sector and welcoming back travellers from overseas while continuing to sustain no new cases of the virus, with 65 per cent of visitors already vaccinated prior to arrival.
“We have spared no resources and implemented a stringent, rigorous and successful programme to control any spread of the virus, including the implementation and enforcement of non-pharmacological protocols and vaccinating 90 per cent of hotel workers in the tourism sector. In line with the UK government requirement, we also carry out regular genomic sequencing to check for variants.
“We strongly believe that Grenada should be added to the UK’s green list as we have taken all the necessary measures to ensure the islands are safe and ready for visitors.”
Ahead of the UK government’s traffic light system review, expected later today, reports have emerged that no new countries will be added to the green list. Portugal, the only mainstream tourism destination that is currently green, is also at risk of moving to the amber list.
Helen Coffey3 June 2021 13:54
If you’re fed up of green list speculation and are planning a staycation instead, how about a trip to a British beach? (Mediterranean weather unfortunately not guaranteed.) From kiss-me-quick beach towns such as Folkestone and Frinton to windswept sandy crescents such as Rhossili in south Wales, The Independent’s travel desk picked their favourite beaches to bliss out on this summer.
Cathy Adams3 June 2021 13:41
Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency and travel forecaster, comments on green list speculation:
Cathy Adams3 June 2021 13:27
What is the reality of travelling to a green destination right now?
The Independent’s travel editor flew to Madeira with Tui on the first day, 17 May, that international travel was permitted following a 19-week break.
Cathy Adams3 June 2021 13:22
And a reminder of the quarantine and testing requirements for arrivals from each colour.
Green arrivals do not need to self-isolate.
All arrivals, regardless of colour band, must present a negative test (this can be lateral flow or rapid antigen) to their airline before departure to the UK.
All returning passengers from green destinations must then take a PCR test within two days of arrival. Passengers will be asked for details of the booked PCR test on the Passenger Locator Form, which will be checked by the airline before departure.
Any arrivals from amber countries, which covers most of Europe, are required to self-isolate for 10 days at home.
They, like green arrivals, must present a negative test before departure to the UK. They must also book PCR tests for days two and eight.
All red arrivals must go into hotel quarantine for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750pp.
Cathy Adams3 June 2021 13:20
Here’s a reminder of the countries and territories on the green list, as it stands before the review.
There are currently 12 destinations on the green list, first revealed on 7 May. It took effect on 17 May.
However, many countries do not currently let in British travellers or are impossible to reach directly, thereby necessitating travel through an amber country.
The only possible holiday destinations are Portugal, Gibraltar and Iceland.
Green list in full
- Faroe Islands
- Falkland Islands
- New Zealand
- Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Cathy Adams3 June 2021 13:16
While travellers are focused on international travel and the hope of a “green” summer holiday, there is some bad news for the rail industry.
Rail journeys have fallen to their lowest in a century-and-a-half, the Office of Rail and Road has revealed.
Only 388 million journeys were made between April 2020 and March 2021, compared with 1.7 billion made in 2019-20 – a fall of 78 per cent in passenger numbers.
The slump in fare revenue was even worse, down 82 per cent to £1.9bn, compared with £10.4 billion in 2019-20.
Taxpayers are filling the gap with a subsidy currently running at £1m per hour.
Travel correspondent Simon Calder has the full report here.
Cathy Adams3 June 2021 13:12
Canary Islands introduce new restrictions for holidaymakers
The Canary Islands, a green list hopeful in the UK’s travel update expected later today, is introducing new requirements for all holidaymakers over the age of six in order to access any official tourist accommodation in the islands.
Travellers must now provide proof of one of the following:
- A Negative Active Infection Diagnostic Test (AIDT), carried out within a maximum period of 72 hours prior to arrival. This test could be a PCR or an antigen test.
- A full course of Covid vaccination within the previous eight months (and have official documentation stating the vaccine received, the number of doses and the date of administration. Vaccine must be officially approved by the European Medical Agency).
- A Covid vaccination more than 15 days in advance of arrival and within four months prior to travel (the vaccination must be accompanied by official documentation stating the vaccine received and the date of administration. Vaccine must be officially approved by the European Medical Agency).
- Recovery from the illness within six months prior to the date of travel. This must be accredited with an official medical certificate or public document stating the dates of infection.
Helen Coffey3 June 2021 12:43