Travel: Calder discusses potential green list countries
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to do more before the travel update by enabling more countries to make it onto the green list, thereby increasing the likelihood of people holidaying abroad. British travel industry bosses have called for more clarity on when more destinations will be added to the green list amid criticisms the Government has been too cautious in unlocking international travel. Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel are among just 12 destinations requiring no quarantine, while many other remote destinations on the list aren’t exactly preferred holiday hotspots for most people.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the move was “necessarily cautious”, but travel sector leaders warned it could “delay the industry’s recovery”.
EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: “The decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is simply not justified by the data or the science and is inconsistent with the approach to reopen the domestic economy.
“So we call on the Government to provide transparency on decision-making and clarity on when we can expect other European countries to join the green list so that consumers and airlines alike can plan for this summer.”
Airlines UK, an industry body that represents British flight carriers, urged Mr Johnson and his Government to make “major additions” to the list during the next review on June 3.
Chief executive Tim Aldersdale said: “This is a missed opportunity and, with so few countries making it onto the green list, represents a reopening of air travel in name only.
“By contrast, the EU has said vaccinated people will be able to travel without restrictions, which leaves the UK at risk of falling behind and not opening up International travel to key markets across Europe as well as the United States.”
General Secretary of pilots’ union BALPA, Brian Sutton accused the government of an “excess of caution”, adding that it is “extremely disappointing for everyone who works in the travel sector and the millions of people who are desperate to jet away on holiday or business”.
Mr Sutton added: “Almost all tourist hotspots in Europe including Spain, France and Greece are in the amber category, which is as good as red as far as most tourists are concerned, with a potential 10-day quarantine needed on return.
“Tourists are sat gazing at the amber light, revving their engines, desperate to travel sage in the knowledge that their jabs will protect them.
“The Government must flick those amber lights to green as soon as it possibly can.”
Mr Shapps said people “should not be travelling” to countries on the amber list, while holidaymakers who go against the advice must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take two PCR tests on arrival – all at their own cost.
The traffic light system will be reviewed every three weeks, with four key tests to determine which category a country will fall into:
Percentage of the population that has been vaccinated
Rate of infection
Prevalence of variants of concern
Access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
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Which countries will be added to the green list?
As it stands, it hasn’t been confirmed exactly which countries will be added to the list, but an educated guess can be made based on status.
The Telegraph reports Mr Johnson said “quite a few” countries could be added in the first review of the list system, reportedly making the remarks at a meeting of the 1922 Tory backbench committee.
Contenders for the green list are understood to be:
- Cayman Islands
- The British Virgin Islands
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St Kitts and Nevis
- Turks and Caicos
Another hint at which countries could make the list can be found on the Foreign Office’s (FCDO) advice page for travel.
The FCDO has implemented a blanket advisory notice against all non-essential travels, bar a number of destinations.
As expected, most green list nations are exempt, but some amber list countries also fall under the exemption – in particular, islands that are doing much better than the mainland they’re attached to.
Among these are:
Spain’s Canary Islands
The FCDO said it has lifted the advice “based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks”, which could mean these hotspots will be deemed safe for holidaying.
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