Holidays in amber countries ‘will not be prevented’ despite Shapps’ warning

Holidays: Simon Calder discusses testing requirements

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On Friday Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps announced the UK’s “green list” from May 17. This means Britons will be able to jet off to these destinations for leisure purposes without the need for quarantine upon their return.

However, the majority of countries around the world have fallen into the “amber” category.

This will see returning holidaymakers needing to self-isolate for 10 days at home, as well as taking three COVID-19 tests on separate occasions.

The transport secretary further warned Britons “should not” travel to these countries.

Despite this, travel expert Simon Calder has explained holidaymakers will be able to journey to these nations and “will not be prevented” from doing so by authorities, so long as they follow travel rules.

Speaking at Friday’s address to the nation, Mr Shapps said: “Amber countries form the biggest group.

“As with the red list, you should not be travelling to these places right now.

“Returnees will have to do tests on three separate occasions – once before departure, twice after arrival and isolate in a place of their choosing for 10 days.”

He issued a further tweet stating: “To protect public health we do not recommend travel for leisure to countries outside of the green list.”

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According to Simon Calder, this is not a legal requirement and rather a piece of “travel advice”.

Speaking on Travel Radio on Sunday, he said: “That effectively means they are lifting the ban on leisure travel on May 17 and therefore they would rather we didn’t, understandably I guess because they think this increases risk, but they are not actually going to prevent you from doing so.

“Of course, there are many people who are prepared to go to places on the amber list and comply with quarantine rules when they come back.”

Countries on the ‘amber list’ include holiday favourites such as Spain, France and Greece.

Britons hoping to venture to these countries will need to abide by both UK travel regulations and the entry requirements set out in these countries.

In many cases, this means testing and quarantine, but some countries including Spain are yet to allow Britons to enter the country without “essential” reason.

Travellers returning to the UK from “amber” countries will need to self-isolate for 10 days at home or a private residence.

They will also need to complete a Passenger Locator Form and take a pre-departure test before flying to the UK alongside two further COVID-19 PCR tests on day two and day eight of their return.

The website adds: “You may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.”

Britons hoping to end their quarantine through the scheme will need to book and pay for a private test to be taken on day five of their quarantine.

This must come from a certificated list of test providers set out on the website.

If the test comes back with a negative result, they will be able to end their self-isolation period five days early.

Test to Release can only be used for those returning from “amber” destinations.

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