People Ignoring Government’s “Very Clear” Guidance against Travelling to “Amber List” Countries

The Government’s attempts to dissuade Brits from holidaying in countries on the travel “amber” list seem to have failed since reports show that almost 300,000 people will fly from the U.K. to these countries by this weekend alone. Boris Johnson said yesterday that “it’s very important for people to grasp what an amber-list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that”.

And if people do go to an amber-list country – they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reason – if they have to go to an amber-list country, then please bear in mind that you will have to self-isolate, you’ll have to take tests and do your passenger locator form and all the rest of it, but you also have to self-isolate for 10 days when you get back.

Priti Patel last night told those returning from abroad that they should expect a “knock on the door” from “holiday police” checking that they are isolating, with potential rule breakers being threatened with fines of up to £10,000.

The Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan, weighed into the Government’s dissuasion efforts on Wednesday, telling talkRADIO that Brits can not holiday in countries such as France and Spain because they’re on the “amber list”. When pushed on whether there is a law to stop people from travelling for non-“extreme” reasons, she clarified that “there’s not”.

People are taking full advantage of this fact, and the Telegraph reports that up to 270,000 will fly to “amber list” countries by Sunday.

Analysis for the Telegraph shows more than 1,300 flights are scheduled to go to “amber” countries in the five days to Sunday at a rate of up to 54,000 passengers a day, with destinations including holiday resorts in Spain, Greece, Italy and France.

Seven of the 10 biggest U.K. tour operators are exploiting confusion in the Government’s guidance to fly holidaymakers to countries or islands deemed safe for non-essential travel by the Foreign Office despite being on the “amber list”. 

It flies in the face of renewed appeals by Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, on Wednesday for the public not to fly to “amber” destinations other than for “extreme” reasons such as caring for a dying relative…

The Government’s attempt to dampen demand faced a European challenge as E.U. ambassadors on Wednesday backed plans to allow vaccinated non-E.U. holidaymakers to visit the bloc this summer…

The E.U. will decide next week on the countries to include on its “green list”. Destinations will have to meet a threshold of having infection rates below 75 cases per 100,000. Britain is comfortably within that, but there are E.U. concerns about the spread of the Indian variant.

Evidence of the potential demand from Britons was confirmed by Cirium, a global aviation data firm, which revealed the number of scheduled flights and passengers to Italy, Greece and Spain were set to increase by up to 200% in the next three days.

They include a doubling to Spain, from 38 flights on Wednesday to 80 on Saturday carrying up to 16,000 travellers, a trebling to Italy from six to 19, carrying up to 3,400, and France rising from six to 10…

TUI, Britain’s biggest tour operator, is flying hundreds of holidaymakers on some 20 flights this week to amber-listed Corfu, Kos, Rhodes, Cuba, St Lucia, Tenerife and Lanzarote. They are deemed safe for “non-essential” trips by the Foreign Office, meaning holidaymakers can get travel insurance.

The Telegraph report is worth reading in full.

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