Travel news latest: Just five European countries poised for ‘green list’

There may only be five European destinations on the UK Government’s ‘green’ list of countries when overseas holidays are set to return from next month.

Portugal, Malta, Iceland, Finland and Gibraltar look set to welcome with the least amount of hassle when coming home. Those considered ‘green’ mean returning travellers aren’t required to quarantine, and need only take two coronavirus tests – though countries may have their own rules in place for arrivals.

However, analysis from travel consultancy The PC Agency shows that outside of Europe there may be more options, including Israel – where the Covid-19 vaccine has been a huge success – as well as Morocco and a string of Caribbean islands.

Its chief executive, Paul Charles, added that the expectation is that most of Europe will be labelled ‘green’ by the end of June, at which point the United States may also be in that category.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is due to confirm when travel can restart on May 10, but Mr Charles said “we expect [the UK Government] to announce their traffic lights on 6th or 7th May.”

The earliest date for the resumption of international leisure travel is May 17, as per Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strategy to ease coronavirus restrictions. Government sources have suggested that final decisions on the list will only be taken in the middle of next week when analysts can consider the latest data on vaccination rates and infection and variant prevalence in the countries.

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Unvaccinated adults keen to get jab before summer holidays, survey reveals

Around a fifth of unvaccinated adults in the UK say they will feel resentful if they do not get a coronavirus jab before their summer holidays, a survey has found.

The Government’s target is to have offered a vaccine to all UK adults by the end of July.

About 18 per cent of those yet to be vaccinated said they would resent those who had been jabbed if they did not get one before their holidays, according to a survey of 4,896 adults aged 18-75.

The research was carried out by the University of Bristol, King’s College London and the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response.

The survey identified “widespread concern” about the ability to control forgeries, with 49 per cent of people thinking vaccination passports will be sold on the black market.

Hays Travel offering Covid-19 tests from as low as £45

Travel agency chain Hays Travel has unveiled a new testing partnership with that will see PCR testing available to travellers from £45 per person.

There will be three options available depending on how quickly the results are needed. Same-day results are available from £140 per person. 

Jonathon Woodall, Hays Travel chief operating officer, said that the firm wouldn’t make a profit from the service but that it shows “the value of using a reputable travel agent”. 

“We will do everything in our power to make sure there are no obstructions to taking a much-needed holiday,” he added.

Latest figures: Covid-19 in France

Britons who are vaccinated or have negative Covid test can visit France from June 9     

British holidaymakers will be able to visit France from June 9 if they are vaccinated or have a negative Covid test, a leaked plan has revealed.

The move means France joins Spain, Portugal and Greece in reopening to tourists for the early summer by accepting digital or paper vaccination certificates or a PCR test result. The leaked plan discloses that France will gradually start lifting its lockdown next Monday, with restaurant terraces reopening in mid-May and a return to near normal by June 30.

If applied, the four-phase roadmap will see France fully reopened just nine days after the UK despite having far higher Covid infection, hospitalisation and death rates. Some French doctors have described the leaked plan as “mad” given that the country still has almost 6,000 Covid patients in intensive care.

France, like most of mainland Europe, is likely to be on the UK Government’s “amber” list of countries, potentially due to be announced at the end of next week.

Charles Hymas and Henry Samuel have the story.

Testing system for holidaymakers at risk of collapse, says Which? 

In case you missed this yesterday, problems with private test suppliers are threatening to plunge the testing system for travellers into chaos when summer holidays resume.

Some passengers arriving in the UK are having to extend their quarantine or pay for additional Covid tests because of the delays, according to an investigation by the consumer group.  

It warned the system may not have the capacity to cope with just weeks before international travel is set to open on May 17. 

Only four private test providers out of more than 500 on the Government’s list of companies have been accredited. And of those four, only two offered test kits on days two and eight for “amber” country holidaymakers and travellers.  

Read the full story.

Covid testing


  A catch-up from yesterday 

Good morning, and happy Friday. Here’s a look at the main stories from yesterday:

  • Britons could be given fortnight’s notice of potential ‘green list’ changes
  • Britons will be able to use health pass to visit France from June 9
  • Testing system for holidaymakers at risk of collapse, says Which?
  • ‘Don’t book now’, holidaymakers warned
  • Cost of Covid tests for travellers are falling, says Grant Shapps

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