Travel latest news: Pressure mounting on UK to add France to red list

France is at risk of being added to the UK’s ‘red list’, following mounting pressure from England’s chief medical officer Chris Witty and his deputy Jonathan Van-Tam. 

The pair have been encouraging Boris Johnson to implement tougher border controls to stop mutant strains entering the UK, it was reported on Tuesday night. They are particularly concerned about France because a majority of the people travelling from the country are exempt from quarantine measures. In fact, 68 per cent (for the most part, hauliers and drivers) are not required to quarantine.

That said, it is thought unlikely France will be added this week, but it has been added to a watch list and ministers are expected to review its status next week.

On Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock played down claims by one of his deputies, Lord Bethell, that European countries could be placed on the list. He said: ““It is now too early to know where the global travel taskforce will come out and know what the decision will be for 17 May.”

Boris Johnson has echoed the messaged, saying that he would be able to say more on April 5 after the government’s travel task force has reported back.

Scroll down for more updates.

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French hauliers arriving in Britain face Covid tests to fight variants threat

French hauliers arriving in the UK face Covid tests under plans being considered by ministers to combat the spread of virus variants from across the Channel, according to industry sources.

The Government plans to use testing sites around Dover – already being used for hauliers leaving the UK – to help minimise any risk of the South African variant in France reaching the UK, the sources have told The Telegraph.

It will provide the Government with an immediate alert if the variant turns up in any drivers, as ministers consider whether to put France on the travel ban “red” list, which would require other arrivals from the country to quarantine in hotels.

Charles Hymas has more here.

Travel industry expert suggests key dates for reopening timeline

 Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, reveals what he understands to be the key dates and details in the reopening of travel to and from the UK.

How will the new ‘traffic light’ system open up our holidays? 

British holidaymakers will have to wait until mid-April for a detailed explanation of when, how and where they will be able to travel this summer, but early murmurs suggest it will be dependent on a new “traffic light” system.

Fans of the Caribbean could be in luck when the traffic lights turn on 

Fans of the Caribbean could be in luck when the traffic lights turn on 

Credit:
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Such a scheme may sound familiar, because it is. The European Union introduced its own traffic light guidelines last autumn for cross-border travel, but the UK is only now considering such an approach.

Find out how exactly that system could work and when it might be introduced here.

TUI to close 48 high street shops

Holiday giant TUI has said that it will be closing 48 shops across the UK. All  273 employees at the affected branches will be offered new roles in other locations.

This is in addition to the 166 TUI shops that were shut in summer 2020.

In response to the news, TUI said the travel industry and the high street ‘are both facing unprecedented pressure’ due to the coronavirus pandemic.

B&Bs and hotels will not be classified as ‘self-contained’ in England’s reopening roadmap

Which countries will be green, amber and red in the new holiday traffic light system?

We now know that the taskforce is considering a ‘traffic light system’, labelling countries as green (no restrictions), amber (open, but with quarantine and test requirements) and red (banned entirely, or hotel quarantine on return).

In predicting which countries will be which colour when the system is announced, we have considered the following factors:

  • How is the vaccination drive going?
  • Did it reopen to UK arrivals in 2020, without quarantine?
  • Is the Government in support of vaccine certification to waive quarantine for arrivals?
  • What are the current case numbers?
  • Does it have hotel quarantine, or other prohibitive border policies in place?

Read our predictions here.

What happened yesterday?

  • UK travel ban extended to June 30
  • Spain to lift travel ban on UK from March 30
  • BA and easyJet axe flights amid ‘third wave’ fears
  • No plans to add Europe to travel red list 
  • P&O Cruises sees “overwhelming” boom in bookings

Now, on with today’s news.