Travel: Richard Madeley questions the 'point' of list system
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The highly anticipated travel review is due today, and reports state no countries will be added to the free to fly to green list. This is due to concerns over rising coronavirus rates, and sees hopes dashed for holidays abroad this summer. Now Portugal is being upgraded from green to amber, with those who have booked holidays facing uncertainty.
With the rules due to come into force on Thursday, June 10, those with holidays booked will have to adhere to amber rules upon their return.
This would mean people currently on holiday in Portugal would be required to self-isolate at home for 10 days if they return after the changes are implemented, which would probably be next week.
And those with holidays planned now need to thinking twice about travelling, with essential travel only to amber countries.
Those returning from amber countries must pre-book Covid tests, with one on day two back in England, and another on day eight.
Read More: What does amber list mean for travel? Fears for Portugal holidays
Can I still go on holiday to Portugal?
Those wishing to go on holiday despite the rule changes can no longer do so – as amber countries must only be travelled to for essential reasons.
Holidays do not count as essential, with work and healthcare among essential travel reasons.
For those travelling for an essential reason, there are key criteria to adhere to upon returning to England.
The amber country rules are:
Before you travel to England you must:
- take a COVID-19 test
- book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests – to be taken after arrival in England
- complete a passenger locator form
On arrival in England you must:
- quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
- take a COVID-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight
This means Brits will have to arrange Covid tests, and can see how to do so via the Government’s website here.
Now holidaymakers in Portugal face a rush for flights home before the rules are implemented.
Holiday firms should offer the chance to rebook or refund any holidays due to take place after the rule change date.
For example, Thomas Cook have a money-back guarantee if holidays have to be cancelled due to a travel ban.
Travel agents will be in touch with customers with details of refunding or rebooking holidays.
The Government’s decision is a huge blow for the travel industry, as Portugal was the only viable major tourist destination on the green list when it was announced last month.
Paul Charles, chief executive of The PC Agency, criticised the decision not to add any more countries to the green travel list: “I think it’s a terrible decision that threatens jobs and recovery in the travel sector.
“It shows little awareness of the safe destinations globally and is at odds with how citizens from other countries such as America are travelling.
“Those British citizens who have been fully jabbed should be given more flexibility to travel to a wider range of green destinations.
“They are basically putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs across aviation and the travel sector, and not showing any signs of helping the sector to recover.
“They seem to want to continue to create an atmosphere of fear among travellers, which is totally at odds with other countries.
“There are several countries which meet the criteria to be on the green list so this is clearly a politically charged decision rather than one based on data.”
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