Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged holidaymakers wanting to travel to countries on the Government’s amber list to have “more patience”.
People are being advised to only travel to countries on the amber list - including the popular summer destinations of Spain and Italy - if for “extreme circumstances”, but not for holidays.
‘Apply a bit of common sense’
The Transport Secretary has now appealed for people to have “a little more patience as the world catches up with our vaccine programme”.
Mr Shapps told Sky News that “there’s a heck of a lot of hassle involved” in organising travel, adding: “It’s expensive.
He said: “We’re not at the stage of saying to people, go to those places on holiday, in fact, please don’t.”
Those returning to the UK from a country on the amber list must quarantine at home for a period of 10 day, as well as taking a pre-departure test and two post-arrival tests.
When asked why holidays were still being sold to countries on the amber list, Mr Shapps said the Government had moved away from a system where things were “banned and illegal” to a situation where people were expected to “apply a bit of common sense”.
This comes after recent confusion regarding if people can travel to countries on the amber list for holidays or not, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying on Wednesday (19 May) the the position was “very clear” and that people should only travel to amber countries “for some extreme circumstance, such as the serious illness of a family member”.
Mr Johnson said “You should not be going to an amber list country on holiday.”
Mr Shapps insisted that people should only go on foreign holidays to green list countries, with Portugal currently the only major viable tourist destination on the list.
However, when asked if he was pushing for the green list to be extended, Mr Shapps told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “Of course. The reason for that is we have ended up getting way ahead in terms of our vaccination programme in this country and we are just having to wait for other countries to catch up with us.
“That’s going to gradually happen, obviously, you can see it’s happening, so that list should expand.”
Travellers returning from countries on the green list do not have to self-isolate, but are required to take a PCR test on day two after their arrival.
Individuals arriving from red list countries will need a negative pre-departure Covid test, as well as undergoing a managed quarantine at a hotel for 10 days and a PCR test on days two and eight.
‘We urge the Government to look at this data again’
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren has described the communication in relation to amber list travel as “very confusing to say the least”.
Mr Lundgren said customers are going on holiday to amber tier countries as many people see an overseas break as a “top priority”.
He also said the UK is “falling behind” other European countries, which are “opening up at large scale.”
“We urge the Government to look at this data again and make sure that they also are following the rules and the conditions that they set up themselves,” Mr Lundgren added.