Countries Could Be Pushed Back onto the “Amber List” at Short Notice, Says Transport Secretary

Overseas travel appears to be just as difficult today as it was before the Government’s “Green List” was updated. That all but one of the new quarantine-free Green countries also feature on the “Green Watchlist” means they are “at risk” of being pushed back onto the “Amber List” at any time. One holiday company has already ruled out taking new bookings for July and August due to the uncertainty, and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says that changes that occur “with quite a lot of regularity” will likely result in Green countries being demoted to Amber at short notice.

Appearing on Sky News this morning, Shapps dodged a question on whether or not he would book a foreign holiday for himself and his family given that the rules could be changed with very little notice, merely saying: “Sadly, I don’t think I’ve got time at the moment to take a holiday.”

The Guardian has more.

Grant Shapps warned anyone looking to travel abroad that the rules could change at short notice after Malta, Madeira and the Balearic islands, among others, were added to the list of countries from which travellers could return without having to quarantine.

But there was concern across the beleaguered travel sector, with one prominent figure accusing the Government of being “overly cautious”.

Shapps said: “People will have to come to their own decisions… If people are in a situation where, from next week, they wanted to get away then these are the places where you can go for the purposes of holiday, of course, being aware of all the caveats about the risk of things changing because… that happens with quite a lot of regularity.”

And he acknowledged that the ongoing pandemic meant the status of any country could change with no notice, with those on the “Green Watchlist” most likely to see harsher restrictions reimposed.

“Whoever is booking to go anywhere this summer, travel insurance, making sure your flights are changeable and making sure the accommodation is changeable – all those things are going to be very, very important this year. And I think people need to weigh up whether that is going to work for them or not,” he told Sky News…

The holiday company On the Beach said it would not be taking new bookings for July and August while so much uncertainty remained about countries on the watchlist.

Criticising ministers’ caution, the Airport Operators Association Chief Executive, Karen Dee, said: “Any extension of the Green List is welcome, however small, but we also have to be realistic: this is not yet the meaningful restart the aviation industry needs to be able to recover from the pandemic.” …

The lists are reviewed every three weeks, meaning that the next announcement will be on Thursday, July 15th.

Worth reading in full.

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