Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that no new countries have been moved to the green list for travel from the UK, while Portugal will be moved to amber.
Portugal’s move to the amber comes just three weeks after it opened its doors to visitors and means that there are now only 11 nations and territories on the green list – the only foreign locations to which Britons can travel without having to quarantine once they return home.
The latest update is a blow to British holidaymakers, as Portugal had been one of the few European destinations on the green list before this recent review.
However, the updates will come into force at 4am on Tuesday, June 8 meaning that Brits returning to Portugal after that date must isolate for up to 10 days at home.
Madeira and the Azores are also moving to amber.
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Mr Schapps also announced a tightening of the rules on countries with high infection rates, moving seven destinations, including Sri Lanka and Egypt from the amber to red lists, reports the Mirror.
The announcement came after hopes that the most popular Spanish and Greek islands could be added to the green list were dashed.
It had also been hoped countries like Malta, Finland, and Slovakia could be added to the green list. But Boris Johnson had warned yesterday that he could tighten restrictions on some countries while loosening them on others.
The Prime Minister said: “We will have no hesitation in moving countries from the green list to the amber list, to the red list, if we have to do so.”
Today’s announcement was the first three-weekly update to the green list since foreign leisure travel was made legal on May 17.
The updates will come into force at 4am on Tuesday, June 8, with the next set of changes around June 28.
Just 12 countries and territories were on the first version of the green list – many of which, like Australia, would not let Brits in anyway.
Brits returning from green, amber and red list nations must all fill out a locator form and take at least two Covid tests.
But crucially, people who arrive from green list countries do not need to quarantine when they return to the UK.
By comparison, arrivals from amber countries must self-isolate at home for up to 10 days, while red list arrivals face a mandatory £1,750 hotel stay.
The green ‘watchlist’ shows countries that are still rated green, but are at risk of turning amber in the near future.
Ministers were looking at separating out the biggest island hotspots from their host territories – allowing travel to them.
But the decision was shrouded in mystery until the last minute as it depended on advice from the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre.
Priority was set to be given to islands that take up the biggest share of the UK tourist market.
Green list status is decided by a complex combination of factors, which include:
- Variants in the country – including how widespread and transmissible they are, and any evidence they evade a vaccine.
- Testing and weekly case rates per 100,000 people, and the % of tests that come back positive.
- If the country is safe, but has strong travel links with other countries that have a big risk from variants.
- How good that country is at genomic sequencing – in other words, spotting new variants.
- How good the overall data in the country is – in other words, if low case rates can be trusted.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said a number of popular holiday destinations “really deserve” to be moved to the low-risk tier.
But Robert Boyle, former director of strategy at British Airways’ parent company IAG, also said Bahrain, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago and Kuwait “ought to be” on the red list due to “very high” infection rates.
Here is the new traffic light list in full:
Israel and Jerusalem
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Antigua and Barbuda
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Bosnia and Herzegovina
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
Central African Republic
Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue
Czech Republic (Czechia)
Greece (including islands)
The Occupied Palestinian Territories
Papua New Guinea
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
Sao Tome and Principe
Spain (including the Balearics and Canary Islands)
St Kitts and Nevis
St Martin and St Barthélemy
St Pierre and Miquelon
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Turks and Caicos Islands
United States (USA)
Wallis and Futuna
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Trinidad & Tobago
United Arab Emirates (UAE)