UK

Travel chaos if Spain and Italy are put on new ‘watch list’, ministers warned


Travel chaos will be caused by the government placing Spain, France and Italy on a new ‘amber watch list’, ministers have been warned.

The plans, reportedly agreed in principle this week, would see holidaymakers warned their destination could move from the amber list to red without warning while they are away, reports the Mirror.

That would mean families returning from holidays in some of the most popular destinations could be forced to undergo hotel quarantine on their return to England, at a cost of £1,750 a head.

One Whitehall source told the Daily Mail: “You would have to be crackers to book a holiday to a place knowing that it could go on to the red list at any moment.”

“If you have already booked to go there you are going to spend your whole holiday worrying whether you are going to have to make a dash to the airport to get home.

“The decision next week will basically be in place for August. It is peak holiday season – are we really going to cause that much disruption to this many people?”

It comes amid claims Spain and Italy could soon join France on the ‘amber plus’ list – meaning even fully vaccinated holidaymakers would have to quarantine at home on their return.

Data expert Tim White believes the Government may announce next week that Spain will be added to the amber plus list.

This is due to NHS Test and Trace figures showing that 2.9% of people arriving in England from Spain between July 1 and 21 tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr White said: “More worryingly for Spain is that 3% of the samples had a variant not widespread in UK. So, from the data, my analysis is bleak.”

He described the decision on Spain’s status as a “huge call” for Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. Spain is the UK’s most popular tourist destination.

“I cannot see Spain being put on red, but realistically amber plus is likely, and likely for the islands of Spain, too, because of the very high infection rates,” Mr White added.

Spain is currently on the amber list, which means fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK do not have to self-isolate for 10 days.

Moving to amber plus would remove the quarantine exemption.

France is the only country currently in that tier, but there is speculation it will be promoted back to amber when the Government updates the travel lists on August 5.

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