France travel: UK criticised over 'inconsistent' rules by MEP
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According to the small business minister Paul Scully, the Government are currently in discussions over whether to add Spain to the “amber plus list”. It comes as the number of confirmed cases of Covid sky-rocket beyond mainland France, which last week became the first country on the newly created “plus” list.
As of July 19, fully vaccinated Britons returning from “amber” countries do not require quarantine upon their return to the UK.
They are also only subject to two COVID-19 tests – one before departure and one on or before day two of their arrivals.
However, arrivals returning from countries on the “amber plus list” will face both quarantine and testing requirements regardless of vaccine status.
They will be expected to take one test before departure, plus a further two on days two and eight of their arrival.
There is mounting speculation that Spain, and also potentially Greece, could end up joining France on the amber list extension.
However, Mr Scully said the Government aim’s to “give people as much notice as we can”.
It comes amid chaos in the travel industry, which has seen holidaymakers desperately racing home to beat quarantine restrictions coming into force in France.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Scully said: “We try to give people as much notice as we can but it’s not just about the pure numbers.
“It’ about the variants, the style of variants, the Beta variant for example which is quite prevalent in France at the moment.
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“We’re looking at how that interacts with the AstraZeneca vaccine as so there’s a lot of factors that are involved in the decisions around travel.
“It comes back to the point that we’ve got to keep people safe and we’ve got to keep on top of things.”
Late on Friday evening, the Government released a statement outlining plans to place France on the “amber plus list”.
It cited public health concerns surrounding the Beta variant, which originated in South Africa, as the reason behind this decision.
In a statement, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “Travel will be different this year and whilst we are committed to continuing to open up international travel safely, our absolute priority is to protect public health here in the UK.
“We urge everyone thinking about going abroad this summer to check their terms and conditions as well as the travel restrictions abroad before they go.”
Holidaymakers heading for Spain have already suffered sudden disruption in recent weeks, with the Government axing the Balearic Islands from the green list just weeks after it made the cut.
The holiday islands, home to Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza, were removed after a sudden surge in cases of Covid were reported.
Currently, under amber list rules, double-jabbed Britons can still visit the Balearic and Canary Islands, or mainland Spain, without incurring a quarantine on their return.
However, should the nation make its way onto the “amber plus list” a new wave of holiday cancellations could hit the travel industry.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid added: “We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme.
“With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.”
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