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‘Amber watchlist’ scrapped as ministers prepare to review summer travel rules

·3-min read
Plans for an ‘amber watchlist’ have been abandoned as ministers prepare to review the traffic light system (PA) (PA Wire)
Plans for an ‘amber watchlist’ have been abandoned as ministers prepare to review the traffic light system (PA) (PA Wire)

Plans for an “amber watchlist” have been abandoned as ministers prepare to review the traffic light system which will decide the travel rules for most of August.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to keep travel rules as simple as possible on Monday and ministers are due to carry out a review meeting on Thursday.

The Government had been considering the new category for nations at risk of being moved into the red group which requires hotel quarantine for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 for an adult.

But following a backlash by Tory MPs, ministerial concerns and complaints from the travel industry, Government sources confirmed there would be “no amber watchlist”.

The confirmation came after Mr Johnson said “a balanced approach” was necessary, adding: “What I want to see is something that is as simple and as user-friendly for people as possible.”

The Prime Minister said the success of the vaccination campaign meant the British economy was “just about the most open in Europe” but there was a balance to be struck on travel because of the risk of importing new coronavirus variants.

“We also have to recognise that people want, badly, to go on their summer holidays, we need to get the travel industry moving again, we need to get our city centres open again and so we want an approach that is as simple as we can possibly make it.”

Nicola Sturgeon is due to announce on Tuesday whether most coronavirus restrictions will be lifted on Monday August 9 as planned, taking Scotland beyond its current Level 0 rules.

Ahead of the announcement, the Scottish First Minister called on Mr Johnson to meet with her in Edinburgh this week to discuss respective plans for recovery from the pandemic.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister in which she said she understood he would be in Scotland this week, Ms Sturgeon said it would be an opportunity for a discussion on the current situation, focusing on “the areas where it is important that our governments work together”.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

Changes to the NHS Covid-19 app were also announced which will mean the number of people told to isolate will be reduced after the so-called pingdemic caused staffing issues across multiple industries.

Almost 700,000 alerts were sent by the app to users in England and Wales for the week to July 21, a record since it was launched.

In future a person’s contacts for just two days prior to a positive test will be notified rather than the current five.

Latest official figures show as of 9am on Monday, there had been a further 21,952 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK.

New rules allowing fully-vaccinated passengers from the US and amber-list European countries to avoid self-isolation on arrival in the UK came into force on Monday.

The relaxation of rules allows passengers who have been double-jabbed with a vaccine approved by regulators in the US, the EU or Switzerland to avoid 10 days in self-isolation.

They will be required to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before the second day after they arrive in England.

Read More

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