Travel news latest: One-dose vaccine could open up ‘amber list’ holidays to young Britons
A traffic light system for restarting foreign holidays is set to be announced today that could see fully vaccinated travellers side-step quarantine on return from “amber list” destinations.
Those who are not fully immunised when travel restarts will be required to take extra tests and face up to 10 days of self-isolation when returning from countries on the “amber list,” which is likely to include key European holiday destinations, such as Spain and Greece.
Many younger holidaymakers will not have received both doses ahead of the proposed earliest restart date for international travel of May 17, but their quarantine-free holiday options could be widened by the single dose Janssen jab that’s set to be deployed among younger adults as a ‘jab and go’ offering.
“Where it will be useful is it could work really well for the younger cohort – the 18 to 29 year olds. One hit and you are done – and you are off to Ibiza,” a source told The Telegraph of the vaccine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to reveal details of a traffic light system for holidays at 5pm today and the travel industry has welcomed restart plans, while urging for a clearer system than that of last summer
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “Regularly updated traffic lights will provide more clarity and certainty than last year but ideally there will be a two-week notice period before countries are switched from one colour category to another. The last thing you’d want on a two-week break is to have to come home half-way through the trip because your destination has moved from green to amber.”
Greece extends restrictions on international flights to April 19
Greece said on Sunday it was extending restrictions on domestic flights until April 12 and on international flights until April 19 as the number of new Covid-19 infections continues to rise.
Under the restrictions, passengers flying to Greece must receive a negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival and undergo random testing for Covid-19.
All foreign travellers are quarantined for seven days. Israeli travellers who have been fully vaccinated at least two weeks before travel will not need to be quarantined following a bilateral agreement on tourism between the two countries.
The UK Government has updated its ‘red list’ of countries, bringing the total number of banned nations to 39.
On April 1 it was confirmed that four countries – the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh – will be added to the ‘red list’ from April 9. Under current restrictions, direct flights from the red-listed nations are banned; Britons currently in these countries must fly home via a third nation.
Hotel quarantine rules apply to all British citizens who have been in or transited through red list countries in the previous 10 days. Any non-Britons who have been in a red list country within the past 10 days will simply be denied entry to the country.
Tougher border controls needed to counter ‘real risk’ of Covid variant from Europe
Tougher border controls are required on travel from Europe to protect the UK from the “real risk” of Covid variants that could undermine the UK’s vaccination programme, says leading epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson.
The academic from Imperial College who was the Government adviser behind the UK’s first lockdown said ministers should reconsider the number of exemptions to the current travel restrictions from Europe and extend testing to everyone entering the country.
Professor Ferguson said cases of the new South African variant were being detected every week in the UK amid concerns that the Astra Zeneca vaccine on which the UK relied was “particularly vulnerable” to it.
“The key thing is the risk of importing variants which might undermine our vaccination programme,” he said. “The concern here is the proportion of cases in many European countries which are this variant, up to four or five per cent in France, up to 17 to 20 per cent in Luxembourg.
“Rather than red list countries that are far away, where the real policy challenge in mitigating risk is in travel to Europe.”
‘Government must set out risks and costs of booking foreign travel’
The consumer association Which? has urged the Government to give travellers a clear view of what foreign travel will be like this summer.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said:
Travellers and holidaymakers have been waiting patiently for Monday’s announcement, so it’s vital that when it comes it is comprehensive in scope and provides people with all they need to know to be able to book a getaway with confidence. This means that the government must clearly set out the risks and additional costs that may be involved in booking foreign travel so that people can make an informed decision.
Let’s not forget that countless holidaymakers lost money last year after being caught out while trying to follow the government’s travel corridor system. We mustn’t have a repeat of this fiasco, so we need a clear understanding of what the system will be and what the potential is for further disruption.
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