‘We’re very keen to see as many countries as possible on that green list,’ says Justice Secretary
It is looking increasingly unlikely that tourism favourites Spain, Greece, Italy and France will make the UK’s travel “green list” in the next update, despite the justice secretary’s claim that the government is “very keen to see as many countries as possible” make the list.
“It means more opportunities for holidaymakers, and the ease of transport that clearly makes a holiday a much more pleasant experience, so we’ll continue, where we see the evidence, to add countries,” Robert Buckland told Sky News.
Meanwhile, the Scottish government has taken a different approach – the four UK Chief Medical Officers have said that green-list status should be the exception, rather than the rule, with countries added to the list only where there are very good reasons for doing so.
The green list of countries from where travellers face no quarantine when they arrive back into the UK is currently limited to just 12 destinations.
Boris Johnson has said that “quite a few” countries could be added in the first review of the traffic light system, due to take place in the first week of June, reports The Telegraph.
He reportedly made the remarks at a meeting of the 1922 Conservative backbench committee, indicating that “near misses” that were almost designated green initially were likely to make the cut this time round.
The contenders are thought to include Malta, Finland, Grenada, the Cayman Islands, Fiji, the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos and Anguilla.
But most of the tourism hotspots of Europe – Croatia, Spain, Italy, France and Greece – look unlikely to shift from amber to green on the next reshuffle.
The Department for Transport has yet to take an “islands approach”, distinguishing between, for example, the Canary Islands and Spain, despite infection rates being much lower in the former.
Mr Buckland said that he thought “a lot of” the public could be trusted to self-isolate after visiting an amber list country.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I think a lot of people can be relied upon to do the right thing when they come back and self-isolate.”
But he added: “I think we’ve got to keep on repeating those messages: green is go, enjoy yourself. Amber is a no.”
International leisure travel became legal again on 17 May in Britain under a traffic light system.
Countries have been classified as green, amber or red based on risk levels and assigned restrictions of varying severity accordingly.
Although it is no longer illegal to go on holiday abroad, the government has stressed that only green list destinations should be visited for recreational purposes.
Boris Johnson said during PMQs on 19 May: “It is very, very clear – you should not be going to an ‘amber list’ country except for some extreme circumstance, such as the serious illness of a family member. You should not be going to an ‘amber list’ country on holiday.”
Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps described red list countries as “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.
This has led to some confusion for British travellers, many of whom have questioned why countries aren’t merely split into red or green.