Holidaymakers wanting to visit amber countries urged to have ‘more patience’
Holidaymakers wanting to visit countries on the Government’s amber list have been urged by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to have “more patience”.
Popular summer hotspots such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece are among the countries on the list.
Mr Shapps appealed for people to have “a little more patience as the world catches up with our vaccine programme”.
Travellers returning to Britain from an amber location must quarantine at home for 10 days and take a pre-departure test and two post-arrival tests.
“There’s a heck of a lot of hassle involved,” Mr Shapps told Sky News.
“We’re not at the stage of saying to people, go to those places on holiday, in fact, please don’t.”
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”.
No mention of avoiding leisure travel to amber list countries was mentioned in the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce report on April 9, which set out the rules.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren described the communication in relation to amber list travel as “very confusing to say the least”.
He said customers are going on holiday to amber tier countries as many people see an overseas break as a “top priority”.
The UK is “falling behind” other European countries which are “opening up at large scale”, Mr Lundgren warned.
He added: “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.”
But Mr Shapps insisted that people should only go on foreign holidays to green list countries.
Portugal is currently the only major viable tourist destination on that list.
Asked if he was pushing for the green list to be extended, he 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.
You cannot prevent British citizens from returning home, no country can ban its own citizens
“That’s going to gradually happen, obviously, you can see it’s happening, so that list should expand.”
Mr Shapps defended the continued availability of direct flights from countries such as India on the coronavirus red list.
In an interview on Sky News, he said: “You cannot prevent British citizens from returning home, no country can ban its own citizens.”
The Cabinet minister told BBC Breakfast that he wanted passengers arriving from amber and red list countries to be segregated in airports “as much as is practically possible”.
He added that Heathrow, which is currently only using two of its four terminals, is examining using a “spare terminal to bring in perhaps the red flights separately”.