Spain and Greece could be added to the ‘amber-plus’ list, after the new category was created for France last week.
The last-minute announcement last week saw fully vaccinated travellers returning to England from France be required to quarantine upon arrival.
Travelers from France have to be quarantined for ten days and take two tests after returning to England.
Here’s all you need to know about what countries could join France on the ‘amber plus’ list.
What countries could be added to ‘amber plus’?
It is currently unknown what countries could be added to the new ‘amber plus’ list.
Reports in the media last week said that Spain and Greece could potentially be added to the category.
Data has revealed that cases of the Beta variant in Spain are almost three times as high as France.
The Beta variant is classified as a “variant of concern”. It carries a mutation which is thought to make it more contagious. However, there is no evidence to suggest it makes people more unwell.
A recent spike in Greece saw daily cases hit 2,800, leading to fresh curfews and bans on music in bars, and restaurants, in Mykonos.
EU health officials say the Beta variant makes up 4% of cases in France, compared to more than 13% in Greece and 21% in Spain.
In Spain, the 14-day infection rate has now reached 377 cases per 10,000 people. The rate is higher in the Balearic islands, sitting at 613. The islands include several popular UK destinations including Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca.
Infectious diseases expert at UAE, Professor Paul Hunter said it was ‘bizarre’ to see France added to the amber plus list first as Spain and Greece ‘seem to have rather more cases than France’.
Speaking to the MailOnline, he said: “I personally cannot see a real or valid public health reason for doing it. Even if the Beta reduces protection given by the vaccine, the jab still prevents severe cases and deaths.
“I think the Government has taken a reasonable approach up to now. But if you go to France or Spain, you are more likely to be positive than the guy who checks your passport.
“I can’t see any value of having France or any other country on the amber plus list solely on the prevalence of variants. In terms of controlling infectious variants, the horse is gone.”
What does ‘amber-plus’ mean?
UK travellers arriving back from “amber-plus” countries must quarantine for up to 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
Travellers must also take a PCR test on or before day two of their arrival, and another on day eight.
Double vaccinated people can take an additional test on day five, and leave quarantine early if the result is negative. However, they still must take the day eight test.
Unvaccinated people must quarantine for the full 10 days. The same rule applies for people travelling from amber list countries.
What is the traffic light system?
The traffic light system refers to how countries around the world are rated for Covid-19, and the rules regarding each country will vary depending where they lie in the scheme.
Destinations are assigned a colour, either Green, Green watchlist, Amber or Red, based on a range of Covid-19 measures, such as vaccination numbers, infection rates and the presence of virus variants.
The different colours indicate the risk of travelling to each location.