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Travel stocks sink as virus variants throw holidays into doubt

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·2-min read
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Plans for foreign holidays have been thrown into disarray after health secretary Matt Hancock warned against visiting 'amber list' countries, despite lifting the ban on international travel. Photo: Getty
Plans for foreign holidays have been thrown into disarray after health secretary Matt Hancock warned against visiting 'amber list' countries, despite lifting the ban on international travel. Photo: Getty

Travel stocks fell into the red on Monday in London, as fears about COVID-19 variants dampened the sentiment even as the next stage of the unlocking roadmap was put into force in England. 

People in England are now allowed to travel to a limited selection of "green list" destinations without having to quarantine on return. 

British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG.L) was down 1.4% by 10am in London alongside EasyJet (EZJ.L) which fell 2.1%. Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) was also 1.8% lower. 

Meanwhile Rolls Royce (RR.L) was down 2.6% and package holiday provider Tui (TUI.L) fell 0.9%.

Plans for foreign holidays have been thrown into disarray again after health secretary Matt Hancock warned against visiting "amber list" countries, despite lifting the ban on international travel.

“People should not travel to amber or red list countries unless it’s absolutely necessary, and certainly not for holiday purposes,” he said on Times Radio last night. 

Hancock said mutant strains of the virus meant people should avoid going to countries such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece. 

Read more: FTSE fall into the red as UK restaurants reopen indoors

The comments also came following warnings from leading medics and scientists over the weekend that suggested it might be too soon to move to the next stage of the unlocking roadmap. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson said in a press conference on Friday that the Indian variant of COVID-19 could pose a "serious disruption" to life returning to some normality in England on 21 June.

Cases of the variant almost tripled to 1,313 in the past week in England. In India, the variant has already wrecked havoc with thousands of deaths and millions of cases. 

Meanwhile, in England, People are allowed to hug each other and dine and drink indoors in hospitality venues. Alongside some foreign travel, museums, cinemas, theatres and sports stadiums can also reopen, and indoor exercises resume.

Surge testing is in force to keep the variant at bay in England, but despite this, medical officials have expressed serious concern about allowing hospitality to reopen indoors.

Watch: Should I book a holiday in 2021?

Ryanair (RYA.L) stock, however, bucked the broad trend after it posted full-year results, rising 0.6% by mid-morning in London. 

The budget airline said it expects next year to continue to be challenging "with uncertainty around when and where COVID lockdowns and travel restrictions will be eased."

The company said it predicts a "strong rebound in end up demand" in air travel as restrictions lift.