Travel UK news live: Latest green list updates as 17 countries eligible for quarantine-free travel


A further 17 countries should be eligible to join the green list in the next update to the government’s traffic light list for international travel, according to an expert.

Austria, Germany, Poland and Canada are among the destinations that should be bumped up from amber to green, according to research by travel consultancy the PC Agency.

The research has identified 12 countries that could go fully green thanks to Covid rates below 30 cases per 100,000 residents and fairly robust vaccination rollouts: Austria, Bosnia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Bhutan, French Polynesia, North Macedonia, Norway and Saudi Arabia have been identified as candidates for the green watchlist.

The next review is due to take place this week, either on Wednesday or Thursday.

Meanwhile, a minister has defended the government’s pandemic travel rules amid suggestions a new amber watchlist could be created for countries – possibly including Italy and Spain – which would signal they were close to going red.

Matt Warman, minister for digital infrastructure, denied claims the guidelines were complicated – and defended the idea of moving away from “three cut-and-dried categories” for travel.

“Saying to people if a country is on a watch list there is a risk that it could, for instance, move from green to amber or amber to red seems to me to be providing people with really important information when they’re making significant financial decisions,” he said.

Follow the latest travel news below:

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‘Ruthless overhaul’ of train fare structure and pricing needed, warns rail expert

But Mark Smith, founder of the Seat61.com website, warns a “ruthless root and branch overhaul” of the fare structure and pricing is essential for the railways to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full story here:

Simon Calder2 August 2021 11:09

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Amber watchlist would be a ‘disaster’ for travel, warn industry experts

Travel industry experts warned the government that introducing a new travel traffic light category would be a “disaster”, after rumours of an “amber watchlist” circulated over the weekend.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, tweeted: “There’s no need for an amber watchlist, which would complicate the traffic light system even more.

“Just create a simple go and no-go list, as Americans have, enabling the fully-jabbed to travel at will. It’s not rocket science.”

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Charles added: “At the moment the system in the UK is choking off recovery, and it’s not helping the sector because there’s no confidence to book because people are worried about places changing at short notice anyway.”

Helen Coffey2 August 2021 10:51

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Ryanair launches extra flights for Bank Holiday Monday

Ryanair has launched extra August bank holiday flights from Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands, with 13 extra return flights to destinations across 10 routes including Croatia, Greece, Italy and Spain. These additional flights will be on sale for travel on the 26 and 30 of August.

There will be more than 5,000 extra seats available, with flights running to European hotspots Alicante, Malaga, Ancona, Brindisi, Lamezia, Palermo, Trieste, Chania, Rhodes and Pula.

Ryanair’s additional UK flights will include:

  • 10 extra flights from Stansted to Chania, Rhodes, Pula, Ancona, Brindisi, Lamezia, Palermo & Trieste.
  • 1 extra flight from Manchester to Malaga.
  • 2 additional flights from East Midlands to Alicante.

Ryanair’s Director of Marketing, Dara Brady, said: “As vaccination rollout programmes continue and restrictions are being lifted, air traffic is expected to peak this August and we are delighted to announce additional routes for our UK customers to enjoy on their bank holiday weekend from 26 to 30 of August.

“We are putting on 13 additional flights for some of our most popular routes in response to pent up demand from British travellers eager to get some sun.”

Helen Coffey2 August 2021 10:40

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Minister defends complicated travel rules

A minister has defended the government’s pandemic travel rules amid suggestions a new amber watchlist could be created for countries – possibly including Italy and Spain – which would signal they were close to going red.

Matt Warman, minister for digital infrastructure, denied claims the guidelines were complicated – and defended the idea of moving away from “three cut-and-dried categories” for travel.

“Saying to people if a country is on a watch list there is a risk that it could, for instance, move from green to amber or amber to red seems to me to be providing people with really important information when they’re making significant financial decisions,” he said.

Asked if a list including green, green watch, amber, amber plus, amber watch and amber red categories would confuse people, the minister said: “You’re going to be hearing more from the transport secretary later this week about the details of that.

“But what you’re describing is a spectrum of countries ranging from green to red. And I think providing people with some indication of the fact that it is not simply three cut-and-dried categories is giving people more information.”

Tom Batchelor2 August 2021 10:17

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Labour urges Tories to ditch ‘amber watchlist’ idea

Labour has urged the government to ditch the idea of amber watchlist, saying it would only add to the sense of “chaos” around travel rules.

Asked if an extra watchlist should be introduced, Labour chairwoman Anneliese Dodds told Times Radio: “Well, no, we don’t want to see additional confusion and chaos here.

“We’ve been here before, we’ve been in this chaos before, and yet government seems to be providing just more of the same, more confusion, more extra categories.”

“What we’ve said for months as the Labour Party is that the Conservative government need to be open and transparent, they need to be actually publishing the data that they’re taking their decisions on.

“The problem is, right now holidaymakers just don’t know who to believe and we’ve got… seem to have the chancellor briefing against the prime minister in the Sunday papers. That’s not building confidence, ultimately, in the system.”

Adam Forrest2 August 2021 10:06

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Jabs replace quarantine for arrivals from US and Europe – except France

The government’s refusal to recognise vaccinations administered outside the UK has ended. Since 4am, travellers from most EU nations, eight other European countries and the US who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus can travel from “amber list” countries without needing to self-isolate when entering the UK.

For the past two weeks, arrivals from medium-risk amber list countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece have been able to avoid self-isolation – so long as they have been fully vaccinated by the NHS in the UK.

The government is now extending the same concession to arrivals from the US and 25 EU nations, plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and five small European countries.

Prospective travellers to the UK must “test to fly” before departure and pre-book a PCR test to be taken on arrival, or one of the two following days.

Read our travel correspondent Simon Calder’s full explainer here:

Helen Coffey2 August 2021 09:57

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Rumoured ‘amber watchlist’ puts travellers off Spain

Many readers are contacting The Independent with concerns over the prospect of an “amber watchlist” which has been leaked to the media – suggesting that some or all of Spain could be placed in a new category with the prospect of “red list” status overshadowing the trip.

Sarah W wrote: “I’ve got a family holiday booked for 13 August to Menorca that was booked when the island was on the green list.

“We are fully vaccinated apart from kids so OK to go whilst amber.

“What will happen if it moves to the amber watchlist. I can’t go with huge risk of it turning to red and hotel quarantine.

“So wish hadn’t booked now as the stress isn’t worth it.”

The proposed “amber watchlist” is believed to be an empty threat aimed at dampening demand for travel to popular destinations with high coronavirus infection rates such as Spain’s Balearic islands.

There is not enough capacity in the hotel quarantine system to accommodate returning holidaymakers. But the mere threat of red list status is proving enough to stop many people booking, or to switch away.

Simon Calder2 August 2021 09:51

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Good morning, and welcome to the travel liveblog.

From today, travellers who have been fully vaccinated in the EU and US can finally enter the UK from amber countries without having to quarantine.

The first people to benefit were American passengers on board British Airways flight 112 from New York JFK which touched down at London Heathrow just after 6am.

Helen Coffey2 August 2021 09:01

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New York-Boston by seaplane – starts on Tuesday

Two great East Coast cities will be linked by seaplane from Tuesday 3 August.

The 85-minute journey between New York and Boston will be operated by Tailwind Air, which promises “the accessibility of the train with the speed of a flight”.

It connects Manhattan’s New York Skyport at the foot of East 23rd Street with Boston Harbor – where the airline promises “a dedicated, seven-minute water taxi to the South Boston waterfront”.

Jet flights from New York’s La Guardia aircraft to Boston’s Logan airport are scheduled for around 75 minutes for the 184-mile journey – to take account of congestion on the ground.

Passengers on Tailwind Air can turn up as little as 10 minutes before departure.

Test bookings made by The Independent found fares of $1,190 (£858) return.

(Simon Calder)

Simon Calder30 July 2021 16:32

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Scientists voice ‘concern’ over foreign travel

Any increase in foreign travel this summer is concerning while autumn could prove to be “a particularly risky point” for the country, scientists advising the Government on coronavirus have warned.

The latest documents, revealing expert advice given to ministers earlier this month, raised concerns that the return of students to schools and universities for the new term could place “significant pressures” on the health service.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab this week insisted the government’s new rules on travel allowing fully vaccinated people from the US and EU to enter the country without having to quarantine are part of a “modest opening up”.

A document dated July 14 stated the importance of global surveillance on the emergence of new variants and added: “Any increase in foreign travel over the summer and the return of international students to universities in the autumn is of particular concern.”

In the same document from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group (SPI-M-O), experts warned that September and October “will be a particularly risky point in the trajectory of the epidemic”.

It states that “significant pressures on healthcare could be seen” if more normal behaviours, following the lifting of many restrictions, coincide with the return of schools and universities.

The warnings were published a day after England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said he hopes the worst of the pandemic is behind us but warned there could be “one or two bumpy periods” ahead.



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