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UK to review travel protocols

UK to review travel protocols
Passengers from international flights arrive at Heathrow, London, January 15, 2021. (Reuters)

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The United Kingdom’s (UK) rules on foreign travel are set to be reviewed later, after industry bosses united in a desperate plea for the green list to be widened.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will face MPs on Thursday, with an update on the traffic light system expected in the afternoon.

Travel bosses are calling for an exemption to quarantine for fully-vaccinated people from amber countries.

Shapps has said ministers “need to look at what the science says”.

But the prospect of European holidays could face another hurdle, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested all European Union countries should make British travellers quarantine on arrival to slow the spread of the Delta variant.

She told Germany’s parliament: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see.”

Currently, people travelling from the UK to Greece, Spain and Portugal are not required to quarantine. Those going to Italy have to self-isolate for five days then take a test, while fully-vaccinated UK visitors to France can enter without quarantining.

By contrast, when returning to the UK from most holiday hotspots on the amber list, travellers have to self-isolate for 10 days, as well as pay for tests.

Just 11 destinations are on the green list – including Gibraltar, Israel and Australia. Travellers do not need to quarantine when they get back from these countries, but they do have to pay for tests.

Countries on the red list are considered the highest risk, and travel from those nations is more strictly limited.

The UK government reviews which countries are on which list every three weeks, and the last update – when Portugal was stripped from the green list – was three weeks ago on June 3.

As well as today’s review, the government has also said there will be a “checkpoint” review of the rules for each category on June 28. That could be when ministers decide whether to relax quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers.

On Wednesday, Shapps told the BBC: “If you’ve been double vaccinated then of course we need to look at what the science says. We’ve said that Monday is the point to review that data, so we are coming up to having a look at it.

“We’re looking at it in the next few days and I’ll have more to say.” (BBC)