UK Prime Minister warns against travel to amber countries

by Deborah Cater
UK PM warns against travel to England's amber countries including Spain

LONDON – Confusion arose after the UK Environment Secretary said people could go to amber countries if they quarantined upon return. The Prime Minister warned people travel to amber countries should only occur in limited circumstances.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, declared the British “must not travel to the countries included in the amber list”. This affects all Spanish destinations, including the Balearic and Canary Islands.

Mr Johnson said: “I think it’s very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.

“And if people do go to an amber list country, they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reason, then please bear in mind that you will have to self-isolate, you’ll have to take tests and do your passenger locator form and all the rest of it.”

Warning as thousands fly out of England

There are reports of thousands of people heading for amber list destinations such as France, Greece, Spain and the US. Over 150 flights departed England on Monday.

After the legal ban on foreign holidays ended on Monday, Environment Secretary George Eustice spoke on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, saying: “We don’t want to stop travel altogether and the reason, as [Health Secretary] Matt Hancock set out, that we have the amber list is there will be reasons why people feel they need to travel, either to visit family or indeed to visit friends.

“They can travel to those countries but they then have to observe quarantine when they return and have two tests after returning.

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“So people can travel to those areas, yes. But they will then have to subject themselves to the quarantine requirements on return.”

The prime minister’s spokesman, however, said: “The position remains that people should not travel to amber list countries and that is to protect public health.” People should not be travelling to those countries for holiday or leisure.

“There are some limited reasons why it might be acceptable to travel – for work purposes, protecting essential services or compassionate reasons such as a funeral or care of a family member – but otherwise people should not be travelling to these countries.”

He said people should only take holidays and leisure travel to the short “green list” of destinations such as Portugal.

EU expected to relax travel rules for British

In the meantime, the travel industry expects the European Union to relax its rules for British holidaymakers.

EU ambassadors are meeting on Wednesday to discuss whether fully vaccinated can visit countries in the bloc without any restrictions.

They are also considering whether to lift the current ban on non-essential travel from the UK to Europe.

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