Government scraps amber ‘watch list’ for travel following backlash

Countries at risk of being put into the red group would have been added to the list.

The aviation industry have warned of further damage to the sector from "complex" travelling rules.

The government has abandoned the idea of an “amber watchlist” for countries at risk of being moved into the red group for international travel.

The idea has been abandoned following ministerial complaints and concerns and backlash from Tory MPs with government sources confirming there would be “no amber watchlist”.

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At a glance: 5 key points

- The UK government had been considering the idea of an “amber watchlist” as part of the traffic light system for international travel.

-Under the system, countries would be moved into the watchlist when they were at risk of being placed into the red group, meaning mandatory hotel quarantine would be required on return to the UK.

- Tory MPs and travel industry figures warned, however, that a complex system risked putting people off from travelling.

-They warned that such a system could hit the aviation industry hard, which has already been damaged by Covid.

- Following the backlash, the government confirmed it did not intend to introduce an “amber watchlist”.

What’s been said

Asked whether he personally backed an “amber watchlist” category earlier on August 2, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I understand that people care very much about their holidays, people want to go abroad, I understand how much people plan, prepare, for the summer holidays.

“But we have also got to remember this is still a dangerous virus and we must try and stop variants coming in, must stop importing variants from abroad, so we have to have a balanced approach.

“What I want to see is something that is as simple and as user-friendly for people as possible.”


The traffic light system for travel grades countries either green, amber or red, according to how well they are coping with the pandemic.

The colours correspond to different rules for travel, with red countries requiring mandatory hotel quarantine and green countries not requiring any quarantine.