Spain is set to swerve “amber plus” status and retain its place on the amber list, according to reports.
It was feared the country might join France in the special category at the government’s next international travel review, expected to take place tomorrow.
But that no longer appears to be on the cards, a Whitehall source told the Times.
“Spain won’t be going on the amber watchlist – the only danger is it going red but that’s very unlikely,” they said.
“Cases are coming down. And they haven’t got enough beds to quarantine everybody. So it’s not going to happen.”
The so-called “amber plus” category was created for France last month in response to fears about importing the Beta virus variant.
It means travellers entering the UK must quarantine for 10 days and take two PCR tests, regardless of vaccination status.
For all other amber list countries, double jabbed UK arrivals – including those from the US or EU – can forgo self-isolation and need only take one PCR test within two days of entering the country.
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China tightens Covid travel restrictions amid Delta outbreak
China has tightened travel restrictions in a bid to control its worst outbreak of Covid in months.
Today, the country announced that it will restrict travelling across borders and suspend the issuing of entry and exit documents for non-essential trips.
Hundreds of cases of the highly-infectious Delta variant have been linked to airport employees in China.
The latest wave is believed to have infected more than 400 people in 25 cities so far.
Beijing and Wuhan have reported outbreaks for the first time since the cities contained the original virus in 2020.
Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 19:15
Malta travel rules force 12-year-old to be left out of family holiday
A family had been split up by the Covid travel restrictions imposed by Malta last month.
The rules stated that travellers aged 12 and above would not be allowed to enter the island unless they have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
Yasmin Bork, 12, had to stay home and be looked after by her relatives and childminders while her mother Katherine, nine-year-old sister Meliha, and grandmother Helen Jackson went to Malta – the i reported.
Ms Jackson told the newspaper: “It is heartbreaking to see [Yasmin] crying but she didn’t want to spoil things for her mum and sister so stayed brave in front of them.”
Children have yet to be routinely offered vaccines in the UK. It was announced today that 16 and 17-year-olds would be offered the jabs later this month.
Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 18:45
Virgin to increase flights to Caribbean to meet ‘a real demand’
Virgin Atlantic is to fly a new route from Heathrow to the Bahamas from 20 November.
It will also increase frequency of flights to Barbados by 60 per cent from Heathrow and Manchester from 31 October.
Barbados is currently on the UK’s green list for travellers but is “at risk of moving to amber”, according to the UK government. The Bahamas is currently on the amber list.
Each has its own requirements for proof of negative tests, vaccination, and completed Covid travel visas before departure from other countries.
Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, said: “We are seeing a real demand from our customers for luxury holidays in the sun with Brits keen to escape on their next adventure after a difficult year.”
Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 18:13
MPs: More work needed to separate ‘red list’ travellers at airports
Urgent action is needed to fix “chaotic” scenes” at UK airports, MPs have said ahead of a relaxation of travel rules expected to be announced this evening.
The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on coronavirus has warned that new Covid-19 variants could enter the UK unless tighter controls are imposed to separate arrivals from high-risk “red list” countries from other travellers.
It comes after a union representing border staff warned that the authorities were losing track of who is entering Britain with the virus, in the wake of a decision to order officers not to check the coronavirus status of incoming passengers.
Read the full report here
Lamiat Sabin4 August 2021 17:49
World Travel & Tourism Council calls for clarity in tomorrow’s travel update
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has called on the UK government to abandon the traffic light system and replace it with a simpler and easier to understand list of green and red countries.
WTTC, which represents the global private Travel & Tourism sector, claims the move would simplify a system which has become steadily discredited over recent months.
Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President and Acting CEO, said: “It’s time the government removed the ambiguity by abandoning the confusing and damaging traffic light system and replacing it with a simple system of green and red categories and clear rules for the vaccinated and unvaccinated, so travellers know exactly where they stand.
“While the rhetoric has changed to a more positive note, what we need is action.
“We need to provide clarity across the UK Travel & Tourism sector, which has been crying out for the present highly unpredictable system to be dropped, having brought international travel from the UK to its knees.”
Helen Coffey4 August 2021 16:35
Bank holiday weekend trains can’t be booked more than eight days ahead
Engineering work is set to scupper the journey plans for hundreds of thousands of August travellers.
Avanti West Coast is warning that tickets for the bank holiday weekend of 28-30 August will not be on sale until 20 August, because Network Rail has not yet finalised details of engineering work.
The train operator, which runs express trains on the line linking London with the West Midlands, northwest England, North Wales and southern Scotland, has already sharply reduced its schedule due to staff shortages.
Simon Calder4 August 2021 15:49
Virgin Atlantic to fly to Nassau
Virgin Atlantic’s search for destinations to which it can profitably fly continues. From 20 November, Sir Richard Branson’s airline will operate twice a week between London Heathrow and Nassau in the Bahamas.
Seats on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights will go on sale on 11 August.
British Airways’ Heathrow-Nassau route is currently suspended, but BA is expected to resume next year.
Virgin Atlantic will also step up flights to Barbados, with five flights per week from Manchester and 11 from Heathrow.
While Barbados is on the UK’s “green list,” the Bahamas are on the “amber list” – requiring quarantine from unvaccinated arrivals.
Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to add the Bahamas to our ever-expanding portfolio of Caribbean destinations.
“With 16 islands surrounded by the world’s clearest water, the Bahamas offers the perfect escape for those travellers looking to either simply relax or explore a new corner of the world.”
Virgin Atlantic currently flies to Antigua, Barbados, Grenada and Jamaica, and expects to restart links to Tobago and Havana over the winter.
Simon Calder4 August 2021 15:27
Boris Johnson to avoid travel traffic light chaos by taking staycation
Boris Johnson will be holidaying in the UK this summer, avoiding his government’s confusing and ever-changing traffic light system for international travel.
A senior government source confirmed that the prime minister and his wife, Carrie Johnson, will opt for for a staycation, although the exact destination is yet to be announced.
The next review of the complex tangle of travel rules is expected tomorrow, 5 August, with government ministers suggesting a simplification of the traffic light system that governs the measures for Brits returning from foreign destinations.
Jo Caird4 August 2021 14:44
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The rules for travel may be changing at the speed of light, but one man is keeping on top of every twist and turn with all the dexterity of an Olympic gymnast: The Independent’s travel corespondent, Simon Calder.
And readers can stay in-the-know too, by getting all the latest travel news and deals straight to their inbox with Simon’s weekly newsletter.
Helen Coffey4 August 2021 14:20
Nowhere in France has more than 1 per cent prevalence of Beta variant, says embassy
Ahead of the “traffic light” announcement expected on Thursday from the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, the French Embassy in London has tweeted that nowhere in France has a prevalence of the Beta variant of coronavirus greater than 1 per cent.
The French mainland was placed in its own category, “amber plus,” because of the presence of the variant on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion – which is politically part of France.
It means anyone returning from mainland France to the UK must self-isolate, even if they have been fully vaccinated.
Réunion itself remains on the ordinary amber list, with no quarantine necessary for arrivals unless they transit through mainland France.
Simon Calder4 August 2021 13:57