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Government is ‘increasingly confident' that green and amber lists will grow

·28-min read
benidorm - Shutterstock
benidorm - Shutterstock

More countries could be added to the green and amber lists in next week’s traffic light review, the Government has suggested.

"We've done the job we had to do domestically and as we see other countries catch up if you like, I think we are increasingly confident that more countries will go either on amber or on to green," Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, told Sky News this morning.

Mr Raab was asked whether Britons would be safe to book trips to amber-listed Spain. He replied: "I can't rule things out that the JBC (Joint Biosecurity Centre) and the government will decide but they'll make that decision next week in terms of the traffic light system for all the relevant countries."

Meanwhile, Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said today that he hopes more destinations will move to green or amber in next week’s update. Any changes that are made are likely to come into effect the following week.

All Britons can return from green-listed countries without facing quarantine in England, while fully vaccinated Britons and their children are also exempt from self-isolation rules on return from amber list countries (with the exception of France, which is ‘amber plus').

Scroll down for updates.

04:33 PM

Today's main stories

The key travel headlines:

  • Government is ‘increasingly confident' that green and amber lists will grow

  • UK faces anxious wait to see if US travel reopens

  • Raab: France is 'amber plus' due to cases on island 6,000 miles from Paris

  • Germany tightens entry restrictions in face of Delta variant

  • NI to follow England's rule change on international travellers

  • Bookings from New York to London surge, says Virgin Atlantic

  • EU warns against travel to Greece’s south Aegean islands

Catch-up with the rest below, and join us again tomorrow for more travel news.

04:27 PM

Northern Ireland's relaxes Covid rules

As we mentioned earlier (at 16.16), Northern Ireland is set to follow England's rule change on international travellers. Here are the changes to its Covid restrictions in full:

  • All indoor settings will apply a one-metre distance rule

  • Social distancing will no longer be required outdoors

  • Full return of live performances at theatres, concert venues, hotel function rooms and community halls

  • Dancing will not be permitted at indoor events

  • Fully-vaccinated travellers from the US and EU amber list nations will be able to enter without quarantine from Monday

  • Uefa VIP guests and Villarreal fans will be allowed to travel to attend the Super Cup on 11 August without self-isolating (Chelsea fans travelling from England for the match are already exempt from travel restrictions)

  • International cruises will return from Saturday

04:12 PM

Pakistan to ban unvaccinated from air travel

Pakistan is to ban air travel for anyone without a Covid-19 vaccine certificate from August.

Covid vaccine certification will also be required for all airline passengers and crew.

Out of a population of 220 million, more than 27.8 million people have received one vaccine dose, but only 5.9 million have been fully-vaccinated, according to the NCOC.

04:01 PM

Catalonia extends nightly virus curfew

Spain's Catalonia on Thursday extended for a second time a nighttime curfew that was imposed on the tourist hotspot to fight a Covid-19 surge.

A Catalan court approved the regional government's request to extend the nightly curfew between 1:00 am and 6:00 am in 163 cities including Barcelona and popular beach resorts like Sitges and Salou.

The measure was imposed in the northwestern region bordering France in mid-July and this is the second time that it is extended.

Catalonia has Spain's highest Covid-19 incidence rate. Before imposing the curfew, the region had instituted other virus restrictions such as limiting gatherings in public and private to 10 people.

barcelona - Getty
barcelona - Getty

03:49 PM

Theme park to offer Covid jabs to thrill-seekers – but they’ll have to wait to enjoy the rides

Covid vaccines are to be offered at a theme park in a bid to boost take-up – but people will be told to wait 15 minutes after getting jabbed to enjoy the rides.

People visiting Thorpe Park, in Surrey, on Thursday will be able to get their first or second vaccination before riding a rollercoaster.

The park's pop-up clinic, offering Pfizer jabs, is also an attempt to target seasonal workers amid concern about low levels of vaccine take-up among young adults.

Vaccines will be on offer to anyone who has not yet taken up the offer of one, with second doses for those who are eligible.

Read the full story.

03:32 PM

Disney to remandate masks at US theme parks

Disney has reintroduced its compulsory mask mandate at its US theme parks for all guests over the age of 2.

Starting Friday, guests will be required to wear face masks in indoor locations at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California - regardless of their vaccination status.

The policy change comes as Covid-19 cases surge in certain parts of the US, particularly amongst the unvaccinated.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed its former decision and recommended that all fully-vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors in places with high transmission rates, in states like California, Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

03:16 PM

NI to follow England's rule change on international travellers

Northern Ireland ministers have agreed to follow a rule change to international travel adopted by other parts of the UK and allow travellers from EU amber countries and the US who are fully vaccinated to enter without the need to quarantine from Monday.

Ministers have also agreed to the return of international cruise travel in and out of Northern Ireland from Saturday.

Managed isolation arrangements for international students arriving from red list countries ahead of the new academic term have also been approved. These arrangements will come into effect on August 9.

02:54 PM

Clutch of Greek islands marked 'high risk' on ECDC Covid map

Greece’s south Aegean islands have been marked “dark red” on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Covid-19 map after a rise in infections, meaning all but essential travel to and from the area is discouraged.

“We’re waiting to see how the [tourist] markets will react,” said Manolis Markopoulos, the president of the hoteliers association of Rhodes, where more than 90% of tourists are from abroad, referring to the ECDC decision.

The 13 islands include Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes, which, combined, draw millions of foreign tourists each summer.

mkyonos - Reuters
mkyonos - Reuters

02:38 PM

'The green light for overseas cruises is an unexpected flash of joined-up thinking – and long overdue'

Finally, the Government has realised that cruising is no more dangerous than sitting on a crowded plane, writes Jane Archer.

After all the shenanigans of the past year and a half, when the cruise industry has been vilified, maligned and generally sidelined by the Government, I never thought I’d say this: HOORAY!

From August 2, ships will be allowed to sail from the UK into international waters for the first time since March 2020. Thank goodness. I mean it’s been wonderful that cruises were allowed to get going around the UK in May (I have been saying for years that a round-Britain cruise is a fabulous way to see this sceptered isle of ours) but there is a limit to the number of times you can visit Portland, Dover and Belfast.

And in what is an almost alarming flash of joined-up thinking, the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office has seen fit to lift its ban on Britons going on ocean cruises. Finally we can cruise outside the UK with the FCDO’s blessing. It’s about time. The ban, couched as advice but enough to put off all but the avid cruiser as it renders most travel insurance useless, was slapped on ocean cruising in March 2020 and has never been lifted.

Read Jane's comment article in full.

02:24 PM

France on 'amber plus' list due to cases on island 6,000 miles from Paris, Raab reveals

Holidaymakers returning from France are being required to self-isolate because of high cases of a coronavirus variant on an island 6,000 miles from Paris, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has revealed.

Mr Raab told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the decision to put France on the amber plus list was "based on the prevalence of the so-called Beta variant, in particular in the Reunion bit of France". Reunion is a French island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

Asked why the travel restriction remained in place for mainland France, the Cabinet minister replied: "It's not the distance that matters, it's the ease of travel between different component parts of any individual country."

He insisted that "we want to get France up the traffic light system as soon as possible".

Read more on the coronavirus live blog.

02:16 PM

Britons now face even more competition to find a staycation

The potential influx of overseas holidaymakers could make it even harder for us to bag a last-minute summer break, writes Emma Beaumont.

dukes mayfair - Atlantide Phototravel /The Image Bank Unreleased
dukes mayfair - Atlantide Phototravel /The Image Bank Unreleased

The news that Britain is reopening to fully vaccinated travellers from America and the EU from August 2 is the small step back to normality that the travel industry so desperately needed. However, the potential influx of overseas holidaymakers could make it even harder for Britons hoping to bag a last-minute summer break, as the competition intensifies in an already barren holiday landscape.

The US has long been Britain's most valuable country in terms of tourism. Visit Britain reports that in 2019 there were 4.5 million inbound visits from the US to the UK, with Americans accounting for 11 per cent of all travellers. Similarly, data shows that the UK welcomed 24.8 million visits from the European Union in 2019, 61 per cent of all inbound visits. Travellers from the EU spent a staggering £10.7 billion, which accounted for 37 per cent of all inbound visitor spending that year.

Of course these figures are a pipe dream for this year, but they represent quite how significant these travellers are to the UK. If only a tiny fraction of those who visited in 2019 make the trip, the impact on the industry (and availability) will be significant. Already, Virgin Atlantic has reported that flight bookings are up by more than 100 per cent week on week, with bookings from New York to London increasing by nearly 250 per cent, compared to the previous week.

Read the full story.

02:11 PM

Which countries are on the green list?

These are the destinations from which returning Britons are free from quarantine in the UK, regardless of their vaccination status.

Here's the list in full.

01:59 PM

'Now cut testing costs for British holidaymakers,' Government told

The Government must work harder to reduce the cost of testing for British holidaymakers, the travel industry has warned after the latest announcement on easing restrictions.

The Department for Transport confirmed on Wednesday that international cruise holidays will be able to resume from August 2, and that US and EU travellers will be able to visit the UK without the need to quarantine.

But nothing was said on the high cost of PCR testing, which can rise to over £500 for a single test.

Abta, the travel association, welcomed the resumption of overseas cruising but warned barriers remain. “We need to see the Government make further progress on making testing more affordable and proportionate, and we need to see more destinations added to the Green list at next week’s review,” a spokesperson said.

Willie Walsh, the director of airline group IATA and former head of British Airways, said the announcement raised further questions. He said: "Why are travellers forced to test twice, the second time using expensive PCR tests? What’s the plan to enable unvaccinated people who have tested negative to travel without quarantine? And when will the US reciprocate?"

01:38 PM

International cruises are finally coming back – here's how they will work

A successful pilot with domestic cruises has laid the groundwork for international cruising from English ports to return from Monday, writes Dave Monk.

From when and where can I sail, to will only British travellers be allowed on board, he answers the key questions.

cruise ship - iStock
cruise ship - iStock

01:22 PM

Germany to require proof of Covid immunity or negative test on arrival

All travellers arriving in Germany will be required from this weekend to demonstrate immunity from Covid-19 either from a vaccine or previous infection, or present a negative test result, government sources reported.

The plan reflects growing concern among Germany's regional and national leaders that rising caseloads in tourist destinations could help fuel a fourth wave when Germans come home from holiday.

Germany now requires a negative test or proof of immunity only from those arriving from so-called "risk areas", "high-incidence areas" and "virus-variant areas", which in Europe now include Britain, Spain and the Netherlands.

01:06 PM

Holidaymakers should secure comprehensive travel insurance to protect against traffic light changes

Dominic Raab has said that the government is "increasingly confident" that more countries will soon be added to the amber and green travel lists.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, said in response:

It's positive to see the possibility of more countries being added to the government's green and amber lists in the coming days. However, as we saw with France and now potentially Spain, countries with rising case rates can have further travel restrictions imposed on them with little or no notice.

With the introduction of quarantine and expensive tests remaining a risk for some travellers, as well as thousands of people every day being told to self-isolate or testing positive, it's vital that anyone considering a holiday chooses a provider that will let them rebook or claim a refund if coronavirus-related disruption prevents them from travelling. Holidaymakers should also get comprehensive travel insurance cover to protect them against these risks.

12:46 PM

Covid testing site opens at St Pancras International

A private Covid-19 testing site has opened at St Pancras International station.

Travellers using the Eurostar or taking trains towards Luton Airport will be able to take PCR, antigen and antibody tests at the facility inside the station, located on the Grand Terrace.

The centre charges £32 for a lateral flow antigen test and £66 for PCR testing.

Provider Collinson also offers a pre-return video test kit for travellers to pack in their suitcases for in-destination testing with a medic before returning to the UK.

12:31 PM

Record 1.3m people in England and Wales told to self-isolate in a week

Almost 1.3 million people were told to self-isolate in England and Wales in the past week after being pinged by the NHS Covid app.

NHS data shows that for the week up to July 21 a record 689,313 people were pinged by the app - up from a previous record set in the week to 14 July, in which 618,903 self-isolation alerts were sent out.

The figures mark the third consecutive week that more than half a million people have been told to self-isolate by the app.

A further 597,260 people were identified as close contacts of someone who had tested positive for coronavirus by NHS Test and Trace in the same week, with 94.1 per cent of those being successfully reached and told to self-isolate.

The ‘pingdemic’ continues to put pressure on businesses despite the Government’s exemption list of key industries, with shop and hospitality workers still being forced to self-isolate in large numbers.

What happens to your holiday if you get pinged?

12:12 PM

The red list countries that could move to amber in time for summer holidays

There is plenty of discussion about which countries could move from ‘amber’ to ‘green’ ahead of the summer season, with all eyes on holiday favourites Spain, Portugal, Greece and France. The next update is expected on or around August 5.

A promotion to the green list means anyone arriving from these countries would no longer need to quarantine on return from holiday, regardless of their vaccination status.

But some ‘red listed’ countries could be in the running for an ‘amber promotion’ in time for the summer holiday rush, judging by the latest data, meaning an end to the expensive mandatory hotel quarantine that passengers returning from the 60 red-listed countries face. And now the Government has waived quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber-list countries, exciting developments could be afoot.

Read the full story.

Could South Africa be in with a chance? - Getty
Could South Africa be in with a chance? - Getty

11:54 AM

Germany tightens entry restrictions in face of Delta variant

All travellers arriving in Germany will be required from this weekend to demonstrate immunity from Covid-19 either from a vaccine or previous infection, or present a negative test result, Der Spiegel reported.

The plan, in a health ministry paper seen by the magazine, reflects growing concern among Germany's regional and national leaders that rising caseloads in tourist destinations could help fuel a fourth wave when Germans come home from holiday.

"The incidence level in Germany is currently quite low in comparison to other states," read the paper, dated on Wednesday. "Increased travel activity risks turning that trend."

Germany now requires a negative test or proof of immunity only from those arriving from so-called "risk areas", "high-incidence areas" and "virus-variant areas", which in Europe now include Britain, Spain and the Netherlands.

11:34 AM

'To steady your holiday nerves, know your rights'

What's the difference between a "ping" from the NHS app and an isolate order from Test and Trace and what should you do if you test positive, writes Hugh Morris.

"There are no grey areas should you test positive before travelling. You must isolate immediately and not travel. Inform your travel providers. Should you have an agreement with your tour operator that activates if you test positive, this is when you can consider rearranging your trip. Tui’s COVID Cover means you can amend your holiday for free if you contract Covid-19 before you are due to depart (for trips before October 31). Jet2 says the same, that you can amend your trip for free.

"You should also contact your insurer. At the start of the pandemic insurance providers moved swiftly to exclude claims related to coronavirus; generally speaking, all policies sold after March 17, 2020 greatly reduced their cover. Only during last summer and autumn did less restrictive policies start to be offered, and many of these still had important exclusions, but there are options available providing suitable cover. For example, Staysure offers cancellation cover that includes an inability to travel due to contact from Test and Trace or being denied boarding due to a positive test."

See the full advice.

11:10 AM

Weather: Cornwall braces for arrival of Storm Evert

Winds of up to 75mph are set to lash parts of the South West as Storm Evert hits the UK on Thursday and Friday.

The Met Office said the newly named storm will bring "unseasonably strong winds and heavy rain".

Warnings are in place for parts of the south of England and Wales, with warnings of possible damage to infrastructure and travel disruption.

Forecasters announced Evert as the name for the storm on Thursday morning, advising the public to be "weather aware".

They predicted some coastal and hilly areas will see wind gusts of between 45mph and 55mph, rising to 65-75mph gusts across Cornwall.

10:51 AM

Bookings from New York to London surge, says Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic says it has seen bookings treble for flights from New York to London in the wake of the UK's easing of quarantine rules for American travellers. Bookings across the US have doubled week on week, the airline said.

Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer at Virgin, said: "We know there’s pent up demand to travel and our surge in bookings for US-UK travel reflect this.

"Flight bookings are up by more than 100 per cent week on week, with bookings from New York to London increasing by nearly 250 per cent, compared to the previous week. We’ve missed flying our US-based customers and we’re excited to welcome them back on board soon.

We now urge UK Government to go further and move the US to the UK’s green list’ and for the Biden administration to repeal the 212F proclamation for UK travellers. The UK is already falling behind US and EU and a continued overly cautious approach towards international travel will further impact economic recovery and the 500,000 UK jobs that are at stake.”

Flight bookings from New York to London have soared - Oliver L Asis
Flight bookings from New York to London have soared - Oliver L Asis

10:26 AM

China reports outbreaks linked to Delta variant

China has reported small coronavirus outbreaks driven by the Delta variant in three provinces as a cluster linked to an eastern airport spreads despite mass testing and a vaccination drive.

The flare-up, which began after nine workers at the Nanjing airport tested positive on July 20, has seen 171 cases detected in Jiangsu province, while infections have spread to at least four other provinces.

It is geographically the largest spread for several months, challenging China's aggressive containment efforts which have relied on mass testing, lockdowns and swift contact tracing.

The virus first emerged in the central city of Wuhan, but China has extolled its success in largely extinguishing the pandemic inside its borders, allowing the economy to rebound.

The new outbreak, coupled with cases seeping over the porous border with Myanmar, is threatening that record.

10:10 AM

England's most beautiful villages to visit in 2021

Britons in search of a slice of traditional England have a plethora of picture-perfect hamlets to choose from this summer.

Castle Combe, Wiltshire

Tom Ough explains: "This village in the Cotswolds is two streets’ worth of ludicrously cute stone cottages plus a pair of ludicrously cute pubs and a ludicrously cute church. Lush hillsides overlook the village. There’s a low bridge over a shallow, glass-clear river. A market cross. (No castle, really, just the remains of a very old motte and bailey). Flowers caress the terraced cottages that line the narrow main road, creating the effect of a very fragrant wind tunnel.

"Castle Combe is therefore proclaimed England’s prettiest village, in much the same way that the US army is proclaimed the world’s most powerful military. Nobody wants to actually test them because they know they’d be obliterated."

Castle Combe is an English classic - Getty
Castle Combe is an English classic - Getty

Read the full story.

09:52 AM

Why Joe Biden is in no rush to let Britons back in to the US

The President has a problem – keep the travel ban and snub an important ally, or drop it and enrage his public health experts, writes Josie Ensor.

"A combination of the rise in cases of the delta variant in the UK, the complexities of the US political system and uncertainty over the status of AstraZeneca’s vaccine has made the Biden administration reluctant to make any such sudden move.

"Sources told the Telegraph that the Government has been working for months to iron out the rather technical problems that had been preventing quarantine-free travel for the fully vaccinated, and it has been making headway this week after figuring out a way for the NHS to acknowledge jabs administered overseas.

"'We were working off travel restrictions set right at the beginning of the pandemic, with no acknowledgment that the situation had changed,' one source said, referring to the UK’s high rate of vaccination. 'It’s just a little frustrating that our counterparts haven’t moved at the same pace.'"

Read the full story.

09:28 AM

Virgin Voyages to resume sailings in August

The head of Virgin Voyages has welcomed the lifting of a ban on international cruises.

Tom McAlpin said:

"This is tremendous news for UK cruising, a momentous time for the industry and we can’t wait to mark the moment by introducing UK sailors to our beautiful Scarlet Lady ship throughout August. It’s been a long, challenging 18 months, and not only are people ready to travel again, they’re ready to do it in style - and importantly - in the safest way possible. This is exactly what we have to offer - a unique, premium way to experience a new way of travelling at sea."

09:07 AM

Which coutries are on the red list?

08:51 AM

Labour: 'Boris Johnson risks new variants running rampant through UK'

Boris Johnson risks allowing a new Covid variant to "run rampant" through the country by further easing restrictions for EU and US travellers, Labour has claimed.

England is to allow people visiting from the US and the EU who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus to enter without the need to quarantine. The new rules will be in place from 4am on Monday, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps expressing hopes that the US will become more relaxed about allowing Britons to visit "in time".

But Labour sounded warnings over the impact of the travel changes. Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: "The Government's track record on our borders has been one of recklessness and confusion.

"They are in danger of continuing this by setting out changes in policy, applying to England only, without the scientific data and criteria we need to make sure we don't see another Johnson variant run rampant through the country and damage the effort of the British public. We want to see international travel opened up safely.

"Ministers need to be clear on what progress has been made on reaching reciprocal agreements for Brits travelling abroad - particularly regarding the NHS app being accepted as proof of Covid status."

Boris Johnson has been accused of allowing the Delta variant to take hold in the UK after delaying adding India to the red list in the spring.

08:29 AM

England's France measures 'frankly incomprehensible'

England's decision to keep quarantine measures for travellers coming from France and not other European Union countries is discriminatory and not based on science, a French minister said on Thursday.

England said on Thursday it would allow fully vaccinated visitors from the EU and United States to arrive without needing to quarantine from next week, but that it would review rules for travellers from France only at the end of next week.

"It's excessive, and it's frankly incomprehensible on health grounds ... It's not based on science and discriminatory towards the French," French Europe Minister Clement Beaune said on LCI TV. "I hope it will be reviewed as soon as possible, it's just common sense."

Beaune said France was not planning tit-for-tat measures "for now".

The British government has said it is keeping quarantine rules for travellers from France because of the presence of the Beta variant there, but French officials say the bulk of cases comes from the island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

Reunion Island is the source of concern for the UK - Getty
Reunion Island is the source of concern for the UK - Getty

08:18 AM

Poll: Should testing prices be capped?

07:57 AM

We can't rule out fake vaccine proof, warns Raab

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the Government "cannot guarantee" that US and EU travellers will not try to show fake vaccination certificates when entering the UK.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We can't guarantee that some people might not do it. I think it is highly unlikely.

"The point here is that, with both the European countries and the US, we are talking about high-trust countries with whom we have not just an intuitive level of high trust, we have active co-operation, so we know that we can straighten out any discrepancies we might come across pretty quickly."

Mr Raab said there is a "double lock" of written certification and proof of US residency for American travellers, which he said could allow "further checks if there is any suspicion of fraud".

He added: "Both domestically with our rollout but also internationally we want to open up, we want to move the country forward, but we want to do it irreversibly and we need to take solid, surefooted steps forward.

"We feel this is a modest opening up of international travel but one that has the reassurances that we can take further steps forward as we build confidence in the system."

07:45 AM

Spotlight: Are cases in the US falling?

Americans will be able to visit the UK without the need to quarantine from next month, but how are cases looking in the US?

07:26 AM

Croatia completes road bridge that skips Bosnian border checks

A bridge linking two parts of Croatia across the Adriatic Sea, meaning motorists will no longer need to pass through Bosnia, has been connected. Travellers may be familiar with it when heading from the north of the country towards the popular destination of Dubrovnik.

The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) in 2018 won an international bid to construct a 2.4-kilometer (1.5-mile) long bridge. The 420-million-euro ($500 million) construction is 85% financed by the EU and is a rare Chinese project in Europe that went through a regular bidding process.

After the final segment of the span was installed, a midnight opening ceremony on the spectacular bridge featured folk dancers, singing and a huge fireworks display.

The bridge is set to open next June - AP
The bridge is set to open next June - AP

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said during the ceremony that the bridge represents "a fascinating strategic accomplishment of the Croatian people and their state" that fulfils their long-time dream to have the Adriatic coastline connected.

The bridge and its connecting roads are expected to be completed by June of next year. Until then, road travelers wanting to visit some of Croatia's most attractive tourist destinations, such as the Old Town section of Dubrovnik, will still have to pass through two border checkpoints between Bosnia and Croatia at the Bosnian seaside port of Neum.

07:03 AM

'Rip-off travel tests must come to an end'

Consumers are at the mercy of private providers to meet Government rules – it’s time prices were capped and requirements cut, writes Emma Featherstone.

"When will costs be cut? The UK’s free-for-all approach to testing fees – it is allowing the market to bring prices down, as opposed to regulating how much providers can charge – appears, at first, to have some benefit. The lowest prices on the Government’s 390-strong list for tests for green list arrivals and 405-strong for amber list arrivals, start at £23 – however they fluctuate to £575. Take a closer look and it seems less beneficial. Many providers at the cheaper end of the scale require you to carry out the test yourself, after travelling to a specific test centre.

"The UK’s system sees consumers relying on private services to meet state-mandated rules. The Government page specifies that you should do your own research. Yet, when travellers have picked a provider from an official list, they should not expect that, as some have complained, results are delivered late or a provider fails to answer customers' emails or phone calls.

"The requirements placed on travellers appear even more irksome when you consider just how much money is to be made within the testing industry. Those travelling to and from the UK by air spent at least £380million on tests in the first six months of 2021, according to a Bloomberg analysis. And during most of that period there was a ban on overseas travel from England (it lifted on May 17). How much will providers have made by the end of 2021?"

Read the full story.

06:58 AM

UK faces anxious wait to see if US travel reopens

Britain expects the US to drop its UK travel ban after ministers reopened the border to Americans, the Transport Secretary said on Wednesday night.

Grant Shapps announced that fully vaccinated travellers from the US and the EU would be allowed to enter Britain without quarantine from Monday morning, and made it clear he expected the move to be reciprocated for British holidaymakers.

Currently, foreigners from the UK are barred from entry to the US along with those from China, Brazil, India, South Africa and much of Europe, including Switzerland and Norway.

There had been hopes that Washington and European nations would open up their borders simultaneously with the UK. But that looked to have failed, calling into question Britain's approach of bypassing Brussels and appealing directly to European countries to permit travel from the UK.

"Everyone is lobbying the Americans left, right and centre," said one UK diplomatic source. Another predicted a renewed drive to convince the US to "open up".

But aviation sources closely following the discussions warned that Mr Biden may not lift the overseas travel ban until September – which would scupper hopes of Britons for US summer holidays.

Read the full story.

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