THE UK government will announce more changes to the travel green list today – with fears Portugal could be taken off the list.
Initially, it was hoped that holiday hotspots including the Spanish and Greek islands could be added to the quarantine-free travel list this week, opening up more destinations by June 7.
However, it is now feared that few if any countries will be added to the list as part of the announcement planned for later today, and some could even be taken off.
Portugal has seen a rise in Covid cases – reporting 724 cases yesterday, the highest since April – with fears new variants including the Nepal strain are already prevalent in the country.
If Portugal is added to the red list it would scupper tens of thousands of Brits' summer plans – and could force people currently on holiday there to return early to avoid facing mandatory quarantine in the UK.
If it is moved from the green to the amber list, Brits will also need to pay for two additional Covid tests, but can avoid hotel quarantine and self-isolate at home.
It comes as:
- Families head to Greece despite the Government's amber warning – as one Brit mum says ‘my kids deserve a holiday’
- Heathrow finally opens a separate red list terminal after weeks of India arrivals mixing with others in long border queues
- Holidaymakers will be hit with soaring prices if green list additions are 'kept secret', says an airport boss
- Brits are now banned from entering France unless they have ‘compelling’ reason to stop spread of Indian variant
PC Agency's Paul Charles said it would be "damaging" to the travel sector if Portugal was taken off.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Many people still don't want to travel because they are worried about the cost of the testing.
"It would be highly damaging if somewhere like Portugal which only went green two weeks ago was put back onto the amber list."
Boris Johnson said yesterday that the Joint Biosecurity Centre will have no hesitation in moving countries between the red, amber and green lists if there is a spike in cases or new deadlier variants.
The PM added: “We’re going to try to allow people to travel, as I know many want to.
“But we’ve got to be cautious and we’ve got to continue to put countries on the red list, on the amber list, when that is necessary.
“The priority is to continue the vaccine rollout, to protect the people of this country.”
Insiders at the Department for Transport emphasised: “No one in the department has booked a holiday abroad.”
Assessments are based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants, and access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
Countries that could still be added to the green list include Malta, which missed out in the initial green list despite low cases and a higher vaccination rate than the UK, as well as Finland and Poland.
Four countries – Costa Rica, Bahrain, Kuwait and Trinidad and Tobago – are expected to be added to the red list due to soaring cases.
This could also include Vietnam as the country battles a "very dangerous" Covid hybrid that spreads extremely quickly and could be fuelling its worst outbreak so far.
Foreign holidays are at also risk from a new mutation of Covid from Nepal which has spread to Europe, it has been reported.
Officials fear the 'Nepal Variant' is resistant to vaccines – and Government scientists are already warning ministers of the strain's dangers.
Following fears over the Indian variant, which has seen UK travellers banned from Germany and France due to its prevalence in Britain, the new Nepal strain could delay the reopening of travel until August.
The vaccination programme is seen as key in the bid to reopen the country and beyond.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that 75 per cent of UK adults across the UK had now had their first coronavirus jab, and 50 per cent of adults in England had received both doses.
Here is the full list of countries on the green list, amber list and red list right now.
Popular British holiday hotspot Spain, despite pushing for the UK to open up to the country, has warned this is unlikely to happen until the end of July after being urged to show “caution” and “patience” during a meeting with Britain’s Ambassador to Spain.
Despite this, Brits have been heading to amber-list Spain and Greece in recent weeks, going against warnings from the UK government.
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