Travel: UK urged to 'open up now' by Lord Karan Bilimoria
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Any country on the amber list could be moved to the red category with little notice, officials have confirmed to Express.co.uk. While the Government has publicly committed to continuing to review its travel system every three weeks, ministers will take action to impose extra restrictions on arrivals in the intervening period if necessary.
A green, amber and red system was introduced earlier this year as the country started to open back up after lockdown.
Arrivals to England from green list countries would not need to isolate, those from amber would need to spend 10 days quarantining at home unless double jabbed, and those travelling from red list countries would be required to pay for 10 days isolation in a specialised hotel.
Every three weeks the risk is re-assessed with countries being re-categorised as required.
Over the weekend it emerged the Government was considering introducing an “amber watchlist” of countries that could be moved to the red list as required.
The plans were then ditched following public outcry and anger from Tory backbenchers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on a visit to Stevenage, Hertfordshire on Monday he wanted “something that is as simple and user-friendly for people as possible”.
However, officials have told this website any country on the amber list could now move to red outside of the three-week review period if the data suggested it was necessary.
Department for Transport officials said if the situation in any country changed and there was a rapid increase in infections, then they would take necessary action with re-classification.
They said they “will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes”.
An official added ministers would continue to be guided by the science.
The move risks plunging thousands of holidays into chaos, with the Government no longer able to guarantee to Brits that holiday destinations on the amber list will not turn red while they are abroad.
Senior Tory backbencher and former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith reacted with anger, warning it was another hammer blow to the aviation industry.
“This creates an amber watchlist through the backdoor,” he said.
“This is no way to treat the British people.
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“How are travel businesses meant to survive like this?
“Travel businesses are on their knees at the moment.
“This is not clever, not clever at all.”
Those returning from red list countries face paying £2,285 for a room in a quarantine hotel as a solo traveller, and an additional £1,430 for an adult sharing a room.
Holiday favourites Spain and Italy are all on the amber list.
France also joins the group from next Sunday after being made a special case last month, with ministers requiring all those returning from the country to isolate for ten days at home, regardless of vaccination status.
This week’s review also sees Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway added to the Government’s green list.
India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will be moved from the red to the amber list.
Meanwhile, Georgia, Mexico, La Reunion and Mayotte will be added to the red list.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we’ve made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
“While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public.”
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