MEXICO will be slapped onto the Government’s red list over fears of a worrying new Colombian variant, it was announced tonight.
The Government confirmed a number of major changes to the travel lists which will kick in at 4am on Sunday August 8.
Mexico was plunged from amber into red, along with Georgia and the French islands of La Reunion and Mayotte.
The move will come as a bitter blow to holidaymakers and those with family abroad, who will now need to quarantine for ten days in a hotel on their return from the country.
And in a double bout of bad news, it will cost travellers nearly £500 more than it has done in the past for their quarantine stay after officials upped the cost tonight.
It comes as:
From August 12, it will cost £2,285 to return from Mexico for a single person and an additional £1,430 for a second adult in the room – up from £1750 per person.
The price for children ages five to 12 stays unchanged at £325.
It comes as health officials fear the rise of the new B.1.621 Covid variant in the country, first discovered in Colombia.
It has so far been found in Colombia, the US, and Spain, among a number of other countries.
There is no evidence to suggest that the strain causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines any less effective.
Where cases of the new variant have been detected, health officials have followed up and tested contacts.
If necessary PHE will deploy surge testing to limit the spread.
Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will all turn green from 4am on Sunday.
The countries are believed to pose a “low risk” to UK public health and will mean anyone travelling to them will not have to quarantine on their return to England.
India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will be moved from red to amber as cases in the countries drop.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who has been getting it in the neck from cabinet colleagues over the travel chaos said he continues to be “cautious” reopening travel.
He 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.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid added: “As well as moving more countries to the green list, today’s announcement also demonstrates the need for continued caution.
“Further countries have been added to the red list to help protect the success of our vaccine rollout from the threat of new variants.”