UK Travel Update: Portugal Drops from Green List, 7 Countries to be Added to Red List

UK Travel Update: Portugal Drops from Green List, 7 Countries to be Added to Red List

The British government revealed on 3 June its first changes to the travel “traffic light system” which has caused dismay for the travel and tourism industries and would-be holidaymakers.

There were widespread hopes for fresh destinations to be added to England's “green list” of countries where quarantine-free travel is permitted. However, no new countries have been added and the most popular tourist destination on the original list, Portugal, has been moved to the “amber list.”

Moving Portugal from the green to the amber list was a “safety first approach” to “give us the best chance of unlocking domestically”, said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

In addition to not adding countries to the green list and relegating Portugal to amber, 7 more countries have been added to the red list.

All the changes will take effect on Tuesday, 8 June at 4 AM.

What Has Changed

This means that from 8 June, it is against government guidance to travel from England to Portugal and anyone who does so will have to undergo a pre-departure COVID test and then self-isolate at home for 10 days upon their return, as per the guidelines for travel from an amber list country.

Only British and Irish nationals and those with rights to live in the UK can enter from the 7 countries added to England's “red list”. Arrivals from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago will also be required to undergo a 10-day quarantine in a government-mandated hotel.

The countries remaining on the UK green list are:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • and St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Disappointed Sectors

The UK setback will be devastating for an industry that’s been leveled by the coronavirus pandemic. Carriers have pinned their hopes on a loosening of travel rules across the European region as vaccinations roll out, but the spread of new variants combined with rising caseloads has disrupted those plans.

British Airways said this was “incredibly disappointing and confusing news, not just for aviation but also for our customers”.

The UK has reached a critical point and urgently needs travel with low-risk countries, like the US, to re-start the economy, support devastated industries, and reunite loved ones.

British Airways Spokesperson

Johan Lundgren, Easyjet's chief executive, said that with “Portuguese rates similar to those in the UK”, relegating the country “simply isn't justified by the science”.

When this framework was put together, consumers were promised a waiting list to allow them to plan.

Yet the government has torn up its own rule book and ignored the science, throwing people's plans into chaos, with virtually no notice or alternative options for travel from the UK.

This decision essentially cuts the UK off from the rest of the world.

Johan Lundgren, Easyjet Chief Executive

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you support the decision to remove Portugal from the “green list”? Talk to us in the comment section below.

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