UK

Six million Brits face travel chaos if Spain and Greece put on ‘amber plus’ list


Almost six million Brits face summer holiday travel chaos if Spain and Greece follow France onto the “amber plus” list requiring isolation on return.

Labour said an estimated 5,857,558 people face the prospect of last-minute quarantine requirements to protect against the spread of coronavirus after booking trips over the “summer of chaos”.

Meanwhile, the Mirror has learned Italy could be the next country to be added to the “amber plus” travel list, throwing thousands more holiday plans into chaos.

The Government introduced an exemption for the requirement to isolate at home for 10 days for fully-vaccinated holidaymakers returning from countries on the amber list.

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A beach in Malaga, which is a popular destination for British holidaymakers

But ministers removed the exemption for France amid concerns over the Beta variant, creating what critics call an “amber plus” designation on the traffic light system for foreign travel.

There has been speculation that Greece and Spain could face the same measures as France, though the Government has not confirmed this.

Whitehall insiders have predicted that France could go back on the amber list at the next travel review, expected on August 5, after a huge Cabinet row.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is said to have been furious at the decision taken last week to require those travelling back from France to quarantine.

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: “Not only have they failed to protect our borders, allowing Covid cases to rocket – they also refuse to be straight with the public and give them the information they need to book travel with confidence, with clear information on the direction of travel of infections in each country.

“Families who have booked holidays in good faith now risk losing out – 10-day quarantine is simply not an option for many people who are already struggling financially thanks to the pandemic.”

The opposition estimated the number of people to have booked holidays to those three nations by looking at official data for past travel and adjusting for lower willingness to travel during the pandemic by comparing with surveys.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The travel list allocations have not changed for Spain or Greece.

“We are closely monitoring the data and will take swift action on travel list allocations and international travel requirements should the data show that countries’ risk to England has changed.”

Italy could be the next country to be added to the “amber plus” travel list, the Mirror has learned.

Senior Government sources revealed the popular holiday destination was being “watched closely” by ministers and was looking a “risky bet” for trips abroad.

Ministers are understood to be concerned about sharply increasing Covid transmission rates, with the Delta variant rapidly gaining traction.

Players from Italy's national football team parade with the UEFA EURO 2020 trophy on a double decker bus in Rome
Fans pack a street in Rome as Italy’s football team celebrates winning Euro 2020 over England

Italian health experts believe the increase has been fuelled in part by huge street celebrations after the country’s Euro 2020 win over England earlier this month.

The Italian government is particularly concerned about the spread of the virus among the two million people over the age of 60 who are still completely unvaccinated.

Analysis by Labour suggests that around 900,000 Brits are planning holidays in Italy this summer, and some of the most popular destinations are already seeing steep rises in cases.

Home Office minister Kit Malthouse has apologised for delays at the borders after travellers complained about “total chaos” at airports as schools closed and summer holidays began.

Passengers complained of long queues to get through departures and arrivals at the weekend, with images posted on social media showing crowded terminals.

Border Force is among the critical sectors that will be exempt from being “pinged” while discussions are also underway for airline staff.





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