Another ten countries including Italy, Germany, Canada and Austria could be added to the green travel list from next week in a boost to summer holiday hopes, a leading travel expert predicted today.
Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, a travel consultancy, screens destinations for quarantine-free travel based on current infection and vaccination rates, as well as information from ‘official sources from various governments’.
He gave Austria, Bosnia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia and Slovenia as likely greens in the next government review, expected next Wednesday.
On the green watch list, he placed Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Finland, Egypt, Estonia, French Polynesia, Jamaica, Japan, North Macedonia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Sweden.
Mr Charles said: ‘Our analysis shows at least 10 countries will be added to the UK Government green list next week – of course it should be many more. But usual government caution will prevail.’
Italy could be joining Germany, Austria and Canada on the UK’s green travel list, an expert predicted today. Pictured is Rome’s Trevi Fountain
The current traffic light system has very few recognised holiday destinations on the ‘green list’ for Britons to visit, while others like Australia are not allowing anyone to enter. Highlighted in orange are destinations at risk of moving to amber
Heathrow plunges to a £2.9bn Covid loss with passenger numbers falling behind EU rivals
Heathrow Airport today plunged to a £2.9billion pandemic loss as Britain’s largest airport fell further behind European rivals – while its CEO urged ministers to open up travel to vaccinated tourists.
The London hub, which before the pandemic had Europe’s busiest runway, said Britain’s travel restrictions were suppressing trade volumes and customer demand, and government action was needed quickly or jobs would be lost.
Passenger levels were about 20-25% of their pre-pandemic levels, while European airports are already back to about 50%, according to Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye.
‘Without the passenger planes going to global markets like the U.S., UK exports aren’t getting out of the country, and the UK will fall behind and that will cost jobs, unless we open up,’ he said today.
Heathrow wants Britain to allow fully vaccinated people from the United States and the European Union to be able to come into the country without needing to quarantine for 10 days, and says that level of opening up would help fuel a stronger recovery.
Other reports last night suggested as many as 77 countries could be rated green, with government scientists said to be reviewing the countries before ministers decide on which to move when changes are announced next week.
Government sources told the Telegraph the number of countries added to the green list may narrow considerably from the 77, but the list offers insight into countries considered ‘possibles’.
Meanwhile, the newspaper also reported that ministers are preparing to ease travel rules for expats returning to the UK from Sunday.
The government will formally recognise jabs administered overseas from August 1.
That means that Brits living abroad who are fully vaccinated will be able to avoid a 10 day stay in self-isolation when returning from an amber list country.
Meanwhile, ministers are also considering plans which would allow double-jabbed foreign nationals to be allowed into the UK without having to quarantine.
The government is hoping to strike reciprocal deals with dozens of nations to recognise each other’s vaccinations and vaccine apps.
That could pave the way for the return of much easier travel to and from many popular holiday destinations.
It will also inevitably spark optimism of a deal being done between the US and the UK as the two sides continue talks on setting up a travel corridor.
The government currently only recognises NHS administered vaccinations when it comes to international travel rules.
As a result, British expats who live in amber list nations have faced the barrier of quarantine even when they have had both doses.
Ministers are now reportedly planning to change the rules to allow Brits to register a foreign jab with their GP.
Current amber and red list destinations. A review of the UK travel list is expected on Wednesday or Thursday next week
Ministers ‘disappointed’ over US travel curbs
A minister today voiced frustration after the US said it will not be easing travel restrictions to the UK quickly.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse said it was ‘disappointing’ after the White House said curbs will not be loosened, citing concerns about the Delta variant.
In contrast, the UK is expected to announce that double-jabbed Americans will be able to visit without the need to quaratine.
Mr Malthouse told Sky News: ‘Obviously that is for them to assess and we are assessing the likelihood of variants coming in from other countries as well.
‘So, it doesn’t surprise me that they are doing similar. It is obviously disappointing.’
He added: ‘We want to get back to international travel as soon as possible. I have got lots of family overseas who I would love to go and visit, particularly in Canada.
‘I am afraid that the tail-end of this virus, and lets hope it is the tail-end, we are still coping with some of that uncertainty across the world and people will have to bear that in mind as they decide their travel plans or otherwise.’
That should pave the way for double-jabbed people to be able to visit the country without having to self-isolate.
It is also thought that quarantine-free travel to the UK for double-jabbed foreign nationals could be opened up ‘very soon’ as the government continues to seek reciprocal deals with countries which agree to recognise the NHS vaccine app.
The deals are likely to be based on a mutual recognition of the vaccines used in each country which means the UK is only likely to strike agreements with nations using jabs already approved for use in Britain.
That could present a stumbling block for a reciprocal deal with the US because the AstraZeneca vaccine, the workhorse of the UK rollout, has not yet been approved for use by Washington.
Meanwhile, in a sign that a breakthrough on US-UK travel may still be some way off, a White House official last night said the Biden Administration does not intend to lift any existing travel restrictions ‘at this point’.
The official cited concerns over the Delta variant and the rising number of US coronavirus cases.
‘Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,’ the official told Reuters.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse today said it was ‘disappointing’ after the White House said curbs will not be loosened, citing concerns about the Delta variant.
The current amber list travel rules state that Brits who are ‘fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme’ do not have to self-isolate when they return.
However, people who are not ‘fully UK vaccinated’ do still have to quarantine for 10 days.
Formally recognising foreign jabs will make it much easier for British expats to return to the UK, with hundreds of thousands based in major EU countries alone.
It came amid reports that restrictions on travel from France will likely be dropped next week as the government’s traffic light system is reviewed.
It is thought the country will be taken off the ‘amber-plus’ list as government officials believe the Beta coronavirus variant threat is being contained.
Sources claim the Delta variant prevalent in Britain is spreading faster than the Beta variant in Europe, and would ‘out-compete’ it in the coming weeks, according to The Times.
At present double-jabbed holidaymakers returning from France must quarantine for up to ten days because it is on the amber-plus list.