Home Travel Montenegro and Thailand are added to travel red list

Montenegro and Thailand are added to travel red list

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Ministers faced a furious backlash last night after they failed to open up any new major holiday destinations for quarantine-free holidays.

It had been hoped that Turkey would move from the red travel list to amber, meaning double-jabbed travellers could visit without having to quarantine for the first time in nearly a year.

But it remained red, along with the Maldives and Pakistan.

Thailand and Montenegro went on the red list, meaning returning travellers must quarantine in hotels for 11 nights, costing £2,285, effectively putting them off limits.

Britons there must dash back to beat the quarantine before 4am on Monday when the change kicks in.

The updates were made yesterday after ministers met to study the latest Covid data.

However, travel chiefs accused them of ‘squandering’ the successful jabs rollout, and warned more job losses were ‘highly likely’ this autumn unless the traffic light system and ‘rip-off’ tests were overhauled.

Although Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland and the Azores became green, they were all previously amber so double-jabbed Britons could visit them without quarantining.

Home Office figures showed yesterday that air passenger arrivals were still 87 per cent lower than normal last month. Just 1,439,800 people arrived by air in the UK, compared with 11,151,600 in July 2019.

British Airways chief Sean Doyle said: ‘Despite our world-leading vaccination programme the UK’s economic recovery remains far behind our more pragmatic European neighbours, which are already reaping the rewards of a rapid recovery.

‘It cannot be right that although 77 per cent of us have been fully vaccinated, we have a much more costly, prohibitive and restrictive testing regime than everyone else when data suggests just four out of every 1,000 travellers tests positive for coronavirus on their return to the UK – less than the overall rate at home.

‘We need to urgently end the uncertainty caused by the constant threat of changes to countries’ traffic light status. Our green list is much smaller than that of the US and EU, despite no new variants being transported into the UK.’

Thailand and Montenegro will be added to the red list, meaning leisure travel to these countries is banned and anyone entering England from them will be required to spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 per person

Thailand and Montenegro will be added to the red list, meaning leisure travel to these countries is banned and anyone entering England from them will be required to spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 per person

Airlines UK, which represents major carriers, said the limited changes and onerous testing rules meant travel for Britons was ‘more expensive, burdensome and uncertain’ compared with other nations.

It added: ‘Too many families are having to look over their shoulders for rule changes, and pay through the nose for tests – with no sign from Government that this will change.

‘As has happened across Europe, it’s time for a more proportionate system where tests are dropped for the fully vaccinated and from destinations where Covid risks are low, with tougher measures targeted at a small number of high-risk countries.’

Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate said: ‘Key competitor areas of the world are not squandering their vaccination programmes like we are.

‘France is at about 50 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger volumes, Germany at about 60 per cent and the US market at over 80 per cent.

‘The Government needs to allow double-vaccinated passengers to return from green or amber countries without the need to quarantine, but also without the need to take a pre-departure or post-arrival test.

‘These are the protocols France, Spain, Greece and other European countries have put in place.’

Martin Chalk, of the pilots’ union Balpa, said: ‘Aviation has lost a second summer to Covid and unless the Government changes approach it will not properly recover until at least next year. The Government is throwing aviation and all the high-skilled workers in it under the bus.’ 

The changes come into force at 4am on Monday and mean that even travellers who haven’t been vaccinated can visit without having to quarantine when they return. 

Thailand has recently seen rates of Covid infection rise to 400 per 100,000 of population even though it forces tourists to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.  

There has been no change to any of the main European holiday destinations including Space, Italy and Greece which are all on the amber list – meaning Brits with two jabs don’t have to quarantine when they come back. 

Travel lists, which determine the quarantine and testing requirements for people arriving in the UK, are updated every three weeks.

Many popular tourist destinations such as Spain, France and Greece are on the amber list, which means returning travellers who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate at home for 10 days, take one pre-departure test and two post-arrival test.

British Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps leaves 10 Downing Street

British Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps leaves 10 Downing Street

Fully-vaccinated travellers are exempt from quarantine, but must still take one pre-departure test and one post-arrival test.

A spokesman for Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said the ‘small number of green destinations’ is making international travel from the UK ‘more expensive, burdensome and uncertain compared to our neighbours’.

He went on: ‘Too many families are having to look over their shoulders for rule changes and pay through the nose for tests, with no sign from Government that this will change.

‘As has already happened across Europe, it’s time for a more proportionate system where tests are dropped for the fully-vaccinated and from destinations where Covid risks are low, with tougher measures targeted at a small number of high risk countries.’

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon warned that ‘any loosening of restrictions carries with it risks, particularly from variants that could undermine the progress we have made on vaccines’.

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