Ministers warned of travel chaos if Spain and Italy are put on new 'watch list'


“You would have to be crackers to book a holiday to a place knowing that it could go on to the red list at any moment,” one Whitehall source said

Italy, Spain and France could be put on a new 'amber watch list'
Italy, Spain and France could be put on a new ‘amber watch list’

Ministers have been warned they risk travel chaos if Spain, France and Italy are placed on a new ‘amber watch list.’

The plans, reportedly agreed in principle this week, would see holidaymakers warned their destination could move from the amber list to red without warning while they are away.

That would mean families returning from holidays in some of the most popular destinations could be forced to undergo hotel quarantine on their return to England, at a cost of £1,750 a head.

One Whitehall source told the Daily Mail: “You would have to be crackers to book a holiday to a place knowing that it could go on to the red list at any moment.”

“If you have already booked to go there you are going to spend your whole holiday worrying whether you are going to have to make a dash to the airport to get home.

“The decision next week will basically be in place for August. It is peak holiday season – are we really going to cause that much disruption to this many people?’

It comes amid claims Spain and Italy could soon join France on the ‘amber plus’ list – meaning even fully vaccinated holidaymakers would have to quarantine at home on their return.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged Brits to “ignore speculation” ahead of decisions next week – but a row is reportedly brewing behind the scenes over future changes to the travel list.








The idea would mean countries could be put on the red list without warning
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Image:

Redazione Telenews/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)



Data expert Tim White believes the Government may announce next week that Spain will be added to the amber plus list, after test and trace figures showed 2.9% of people arriving from the country between July 1 and 21 tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr White said: “More worryingly for Spain is that 3% of the samples had a variant not widespread in UK.

“So, from the data, my analysis is bleak.”

He described the decision on Spain’s status as a “huge call” for Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Spain is the UK’s most popular tourist destination.

“I cannot see Spain being put on red, but realistically amber plus is likely, and likely for the islands of Spain, too, because of the very high infection rates,” Mr White added.

Spain is currently on the amber list, which means fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK do not have to self-isolate for 10 days.

Moving to amber plus would remove the quarantine exemption.





France is the only country currently in that tier, but there is speculation it will be promoted back to amber when the Government updates the travel lists on August 5.

Changes are likely to be implemented on the following Monday.

All travellers entering the UK from green list locations do not have to self-isolate, while those returning from a red list country must enter a quarantine hotel at a cost of £1,750 for solo travellers.








Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said people should “ignore speculation”
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Image:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)



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Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said he does not believe Spain’s status will be changed in the short-term as the Government wants to “move away from amber plus” following criticism at the creation of the tier.

The number of coronavirus infections in Spain is “flatlining at the moment and starting to reduce a little bit”, Mr Charles told the PA news agency.

“That could be a sign that things are starting to improve.

“I think it would be a very brazen Government that would tell a million British tourists in Spain at the moment, and the Balearics, that they would have to quarantine on their way back.

“It would be a really tough decision. I can’t believe they’re going to do that.”

Mr Charles also predicted that the green list will be expanded, with potential additions including Bosnia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia and Slovenia.









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