COUNTRIES on the UK’s green and amber travel lists could turn red at the last minute and without warning – meaning summer holidays could yet be ruined.
Brits desperate for a sunshine break after a difficult year trapped at home will be faced with agonising decisions about whether to book time away, sources claim.
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Just a handful of locations are likely to go onto the green list – meaning visitors won’t have to quarantine when they return home.
But even those countries – likely to include Gibraltar, Malta, Israel and Iceland – could turn red without notice if cases surge or new mutations are identified, it’s reported.
Portugal is the only major European holiday destination that could make it onto the list, set to be revealed this week.
The situation is the same for countries on the amber list.
It comes as:
Traditional holiday hotspots, including France, Spain, Greece and Italy, look set to be classed as amber for the time being as Europe battles a spike in cases.
Under red list restrictions, UK passengers returning home must quarantine at a Government-approved hotel for ten days at a cost of £1,750.
Boris Johnson is currently deciding which countries will open to British travellers ahead of restrictions easing on May 17.
But would-be holidaymakers have faced much uncertainty over whether they’ll be allowed to travel.
And they were hit with a further blow last night as it was announced popular holiday islands will be among those likely to go on the amber list.
The Balearics – which has a Covid rate less than a quarter of that of Spain’s – and the Canary Islands, which has vaccinated almost a third of its adult population, are set to appear on the list.
Those returning from countries on the amber list will have to quarantine at home for 10 days and take two PCR Covid tests, although travellers can pay for a third test to end self-isolation after day five.
The PM will aim to give at least two weeks’ notice before changing the rules for any country, giving Brits more certainty.
But insiders say holidays could be ruined at the last minute if the situation in any approved country dramatically worsens quickly, or if a variant of concern is found.
One source said: “There can be emergency short-notice changes if something horrible crops up.”
Spain is among the countries hoping to open from June. France says tourists with a French Covid ‘health pass’ will be welcomed from June 9.
Meanwhile, Greece’s tourism minister tweeted that tourism will reopen on May 14, albeit with five security levels.
Portugal and Cyprus hope to welcome UK tourists from mid-May.
A total of 40 countries are on Britain’s red list.
They include Chile in South America – which has experienced a horrifying surge in cases, despite a hugely successful jabs roll-out – and India, where patients are dying in streets outside hospitals.
And a political row has broken out in the UK over whether holidays should go ahead at all.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus has warned of “a deadly third wave and further lockdowns” if the prohibition on going abroad is eased.
It says the travel ban should continue with a review every three months, which would effectively rule out holidays until late August at the earliest.
Layla Moran MP, who is chair of the group as well as the Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesperson, said: “It is staggering that the Government is even contemplating encouraging overseas holidays when airports are already struggling to keep the virus and new variants at bay.”
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Professor Deenan Pillay from University College London warned that the failure to separate arrivals from amber and red countries “made a nonsense of things”.
But the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Future of Aviation said it was “essential that the government deliver on the commitment to safely reopen travel on May 17”.
Tory MP Henry Smith said: “Any failure to do so would likely be the final damaging blow to the businesses, communities and employees who rely on our vibrant aviation sector.”