Green list countries LATEST: Portugal holiday bookings soar as travellers warned over 10-hour queues at airports


EAGER holidaymakers started to book their first trips abroad as soon as the Government revealed its green list yesterday.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced 12 countries would be added to the green list in the “first tentative steps” to opening up travel for Brits this summer.

Portugal, Israel, Gibraltar and Malta are among the countries Brits can travel to without having to quarantine on their return.

At the moment, popular destinations such as France, Spain and Greece are excluded from the green list, the Transport Secretary said yesterday.

David Child, head of PR and brand at Thomas Cook, said bookings for Portugal were “through the roof” immediately after the announcement as people had been “poised, ready and waiting to go”.

“We took in the first hour from 5pm to 6pm as many Portugal bookings as we took in the whole month of April.”

However, holidaymakers have been warned of long queues at airports due to Covid-safety checks.

People arriving at UK airports could face queues of up to 10 hours this summer, according to the Border Force union.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest updates…

  • BENIDORM MAYOR SLAMS UK’S GREEN LIST

    The mayor of Benidorm has slammed UK’s new green list of quarantine-free travel destinations as “incomprehensible” after Spain was left off.

    Toni Perez’s outburst comes after the holiday hotspot remains on the amber list of countries which require returning visitors to self-isolate for 10 days.

    The mayor is now demanding a personal meeting with Britain’s Ambassador to Spain to explain the “reality” of the popular British holiday destination.

    More on the story here

  • MORE THAN A MILLION CHILDREN OFFERED MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AT SCHOOL

    More than a million children will be given access to mental health support in school as the NHS expands its services to help young people cope with the significant disruption caused by the pandemic.

    Teams of experts are offering support to children experiencing anxiety and depression in a bid to prevent problems escalating into serious mental health issues that continue into adulthood.

    NHS England says approximately 400 mental health support teams will be up and running across 3,000 schools in England and they will offer support to almost three million pupils by 2023.

    The £79 million Government funding for children’s mental health services confirmed in March is being used to accelerate the rollout of mental health support teams in schools.

  • JET2 TO RESTART HOLIDAYS FROM JUNE 24

    Travel firm Jet2 said it was committed to restarting holidays from June 24.

    Welcoming the planned partial reopening of international travel, CEO Steve Heapy said: “Despite ‘wanting to start looking outward again’ there is still a long way to go to meet the huge customer demand for our flights and ATOL protected package holidays, so we look forward to further positive news about where we can fly to in the coming weeks.

    “We also look forward to important updates from the UK Government about a simple and affordable testing regime for customers.”

  • THOMAS COOK SAYS FRIDAY BOOKINGS WERE UP 250% ON LAST WEEK

    Thomas Cook said on Friday bookings were already up 250% on last week, with more demand expecting into the evening.

    Comparing the whole of Friday to the whole of April 30, Thomas Cook said web traffic was 85% higher.

    Searches for Portugal saw a 264% increase, while there was a 277% rise in searches for Gibraltar – another destination on the Government’s green list.

  • PORTUGAL’S GREEN LIST STATUS PROMPTS ‘SURGE’ IN BOOKINGS

    Portugal’s placement on the Government-approved green travel list has prompted a “surge” in bookings from eager holidaymakers, one travel firm has said.

    The Department of Transport revealed at 5pm on Friday that the European nation was one of just 12 destinations that travellers will be able to visit from May 17 without having to self-isolate on return to England.

    David Child, head of PR and brand at Thomas Cook, said bookings for Portugal were “through the roof” immediately after the announcement as people had been “poised, ready and waiting to go”.

    “We took in the first hour from 5pm to 6pm as many Portugal bookings as we took in the whole month of April,” he told the PA news agency.

  • ‘NATIONAL EFFORT’

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This has been a truly national effort.

    “The NHS has delivered the vaccine at an incredible pace.

    “One jab at a time, the vaccines are helping to send this virus into retreat, with coronavirus cases and deaths now at their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic.

    “I strongly encourage everyone to take up the offer when it comes so we can put this pandemic behind us.”

    Matt Hancock says data on impact of Covid vaccine on reducing transmission is ‘really encouraging’
  • ‘INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT’

    Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This is an incredible achievement.

    “It is now more important than ever to come forward for the second dose, so we can ensure everyone has the strongest possible protection from this dreadful virus.”

  • TWO THIRDS OF BRITS JABBED

    Two-thirds of adults have had at least one Covid jab, the government said yesterday – as cases fell to their lowest level since last summer.

    Last night, the NHS had administered 51.8million jabs, including 16.7million second doses.

    The government met its target of vaccinating the most vulnerable by April 15, and remains on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July.

  • WHERE CAN I TRAVEL?

    Portugal plans to welcome UK tourists who have had a recent negative test, have recovered from the virus and therefore have antibodies, or had both doses of a vaccine.

    Gibraltar will not require UK visitors to be tested or vaccinated, whereas Israel will initially reopen its border on May 23 only to groups of foreign tourists who have had both jabs.

    None of these destinations will require arrivals to quarantine.

  • GREEN LIST COUNTRIES

    The Government has announced the green, amber and red lists for international travel.

    Travellers returning from a country on the green list will not be need to quarantine and will only be required to take one post-arrival test.

    The list includes Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, plus several small remote islands which are British Overseas Territories.

  • VACCINE SUCCESS

    More than 50 million doses of a Covid vaccine have been distributed in the UK, 16.7 million of which are second doses, according to Government figures.

    Earlier this week, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said scientists are looking at a range of options for an autumn booster vaccination campaign to protect against a third wave of coronavirus.

    This could include new jabs to protect against variants or mixing the types of injections given.

  • UK TO BE COVID-FREE THIS SUMMER

    The UK will have a population protected from Covid this summer, the departing chief of the UK’s vaccine taskforce said.

    Clive Dix, who took over the role in December and stepped down last week, said it was his belief there would be no circulating virus in the UK by August.

    He also told the Daily Telegraph: “We’ll have probably protected the population from all the variants that are known.

    “We’ll be safe over the coming winter.”

  • CHECKS ON UK BORDER WILL TAKE LONGER, SAYS DIRECTOR GENERAL

    Paul Lincoln, Director General for Border Force, says checks at the border for travel will take longer to make sure things go “as smooth as possible.”

  • BENIDORM MAYOR SLAMS UK HOLIDAY GREEN LIST

    The mayor of Benidorm has slammed UK’s new green list of quarantine free travel destinations as “incomprehensible” after Spain was left off.

    Toni Perez’s outburst comes after the holiday hotspot remains on the amber list of countries which require returning visitors to self-isolate for 10 days.

    Fuming Perez said in a statement: “Benidorm has better data than Portugal.”

    He said the vaccine rollout in the Valencia region is going well with 31 percent receiving one shot and 13.4 percent with both jabs.

    Perez pointed out that Brits make up for 40 percent of the tourists in the town.

  • UK WILL BE ‘COVID FREE BY AUGUST’

    Britain will be Covid free by August and will be safe this winter without jab booster shots, the head of the vaccine taskforce has said.

    Clive Dix said it was his personal prediction that the UK population will be protected in three months and we won’t need boost shots until 2022.

    “Sometime in August, we will have no circulating virus in the UK,” Mr Dix told the Telegraph.

    “All the variants that are known – I think we’ll be safe against over the coming winter.”

    Read the full story here.

  • SPAIN AND GREECE COULD BE ADDED TO ‘GREEN LIST’ IN 3 WEEKS AS MINISTERS VOW TO KEEP HOLIDAYS UNDER REVIEW

    Spain and Greece could be added to ‘green list’ in 3 weeks as ministers vow to keep holidays under review
  • EXPERTS WARN OF FINANCIAL RISKS AS BRITS FLOCK TO BOOK HOLIDAYS

    Booking travel plans for after May 17 still carries “some financial risk”, the editor of consumer champion Which? Travel has said.

    Rory Boland said: “Travellers will have an expectation that these new Government rules should protect their health and their money, yet serious issues around lengthy airport queues and a broken testing system remain unresolved.

    “Travellers should also be aware that there is still some financial risk involved in booking travel plans, depending on how you book and which company you choose.

    “Crucially, holidaymakers also need to do their research before booking, as choosing the right provider could be the difference between getting hundreds of pounds back or just getting the runaround.”

  • DR JENNY HARRIES ADVISES PUBLIC TO ‘SOCIALISE OUTDOORS’ EVEN IF RULES CHANGE IN VARIANT HOTSPOTS

    Dr Jenny Harries added: “We are taking a whole host of steps to ensure that in areas where we have seen that (rising cases), we have enhanced contact tracing, we are going in with messaging, working with local communities, with directors of public health to ensure that people are really aware of the potential risks.

    “We are encouraging people to continue working from home … socialise outdoors even if the situation and the rules change – it is really important people continue to do that.

    “This is likely to be a bit of a pattern as we go forward, so we need the public to do everything that they have been doing in sticking to the rules, but in those particular areas to be particularly careful.”

  • OVER 3000% INCREASE IN SEARCHES OVER 3000% INCREASE IN SEARCHES FOR ‘HOLIDAYS TO PORTUGAL’

    Gary Piazzon, Founder of portertravel.co.uk, says: It’s great people in the UK have finally been given some clarity as to how their summer plans will shape up and seems the real winner here is Portugal.

    “Data reveals that in the last hour, Google searches for ‘Holidays to Portugal’ have skyrocketed, up 3,233% when compared with ten minutes before the Transport Secretary’s announcement.

    “Meanwhile, searches for Israel are up 1,329% and Gibraltar 488%.

    “I agree with Grant Shapps in that travellers are crucial to rebuilding the UK economy and I really hope this is the all-important light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been waiting for.”

  • WHAT ARE TRAVELLERS FROM AMBER COUNTRIES REQUIRED TO DO?

    Travellers visiting countries placed in amber level will need:

    • A negative test taken before returning to the UK
    • To quarantine for ten-days on arrival in the UK
    • Two negative PCR tests before leaving quarantine

     

  • EXPLAINED: WILL USA BE ON THE UK GREEN LIST FOR SUMMER HOLIDAYS?

    BRITS are waiting to find out which summer holiday destinations will feature on the UK’s green list.

    Holidaymakers heading to countries deemed safe from coronavirus will not need to quarantine when they return home. But will the USA be on the green list?

    The government is set to place countries on a green, amber and red traffic light system when the travel ban is set to be lifted on May 17.

    The traffic light system will be based on vaccination rollout, infection rates and whether there are any variants of concern in the country.

    Unfortunately for holidaymakers looking to make the 5,000-mile journey across the Atlantic, the USA is not expected to be placed on the green list by the UK government, unlike Portugal..

  • LIKELY THAT USA WILL BE PLACED INTO AMBER THIS SUMMER

    It is likely that America will instead be placed in amber. Travellers visiting countries placed in this level will need:

    • A negative test taken before returning to the UK
    • To quarantine for ten-days on arrival in the UK
    • Two negative PCR tests before leaving quarantine

    However, holidaymakers from the UK are currently banned from visiting America by the US government. The ban will need to be lifted regardless of which level the country is placed in.

    Travel experts predict the USA will be placed on the green list by the start of July, at which point the travel ban may be lifted.

    Almost 45% of the American population have been given one dose of vaccine, which equates to more than 147 million people.

  • SURGE TESTING ROLLED-OUT OVER CONCERNING VARIANTS

    Surge testing will be deployed in Bolton and west London as cases of coronavirus “variants of concern” have been detected.  PCR tests will be offered by the NHS and council officials in targeted areas within the HA4 postcode in Ruislip, Hillingdon, after a single case. 

    Bolton Council will also roll out tests in BL3 postcodes after a “small number” of South African variant cases and “a cluster of cases” of the Indian variant were identified. 

    People are urged to come forward, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

    Surge testing will be deployed in Bolton and west London as cases of coronavirus “variants of concern” have been detected.  PCR tests will be offered by the NHS and council officials in targeted areas within the HA4 postcode in Ruislip, Hillingdon, after a single case. 

    Bolton Council will also roll out tests in BL3 postcodes after a “small number” of South African variant cases and “a cluster of cases” of the Indian variant were identified. People are urged to come forward, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

  • RED COUNTRIES SHOULD NOT BE VISITED IN EXCEPT FOR ‘THE MOST EXTREME OF CIRCUMSTANCES’

    Speaking at a press conference, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Red countries are those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances, where repeated testing and isolation in designated Government hotels on return is compulsory.

    “Non-UK residents who have been in a red country in the last 10 days will still be barred from entering the UK.

    “I must tell you that now due to concerns about Covid rates and variants of concern, Turkey, the Maldives, Nepal must regrettably be added to the red list.”

  • WATCH: BORIS JOHNSON SAYS HE SEES NO REASON TO CHANGE ANY STAGES OF COVID ROADMAP

    Boris Johnson says he sees no reason to change any stages of Covid roadmap

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