The countries which could be on the ‘amber watchlist’ as minister says government IS considering new restrictions

THE UK government IS considering a new "amber watchlist," the Digital Minister has said.

The current traffic light system includes green, green watchlist, amber, amber plus and red lists – but could soon be joined by a sixth category.

MP Matt Warman explained that it is better for Brits not to have "three cut and dried categories” of just green, amber and red and has not ruled out another amber list being added later this week during the next travel review.

He told Sky News: "I don’t accept it is complicated in a way that is not something that people can apply their common sense.

“Saying to people, if a country is on a watch list there is a risk that it could for instance move from green to amber or amber to red, seems to me to be providing people with really important information when they’re making significant financial decisions because people are of course really keen to get away for a holiday if they can.”

He added: "I think you’re going to be hearing more from the Transport Secretary later on this week about the details of that and I didn’t want to preempt those announcements, but what you’re describing is a spectrum of countries ranging from green to red."

The current traffic light rules are:

  • Green list – no quarantine, but two Covid tests – one pre-arrival, one on day two
  • Green watchlist – same as green list, but countries are at high risk of being moved to amber list
  • Amber list – quarantine for 10 days, with three Covid tests – one pre-arrival, one on day two and one on day eight. Double-jabbed Brits can avoid quarantine and day eight test
  • Amber-plus list – same as amber list, but no exemptions for vaccinated Brits (currently only includes France)
  • Red list – non-essential travel banned, with mandatory 10 day quarantine at hotel and three Covid tests – one pre-arrival, one on day two and one on day eight

A new amber watchlist would work in the similar way to the green watchlist – meaning destinations on it could quickly be moved to the red list which bans all holidays.

Countries which could be put onto it include holiday hotspots Spain, Greece and Italy, all of which are currently on the amber list – as they all report high Covid case rates and the Beta variant.

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They have already been forced to introduce more Covid restrictions due to soaring cases, with both Greece and Spain bringing back night-time curfews at badly hit areas.

Italy has since extended the UK quarantine restrictions until August 30, meaning all Brits must isolate for five days on arrival.

Spain reported nearly 25,000 new daily cases yesterday, down from their highest of 44,000 last month while Greece saw highs of 3,593 new daily rates last week, the highest since April.

Italy reported 6,615 new cases yesterday, as Covid infections have been steadily climbing from lows of 679 in June.

WARNING SIGN

However, Tory backbenchers have blasted the government’s “inexplicably complicated” plans to introduce an amber watchlist over fears they could ruin summer holidays.  

Huw Merriman, the Tory Chairman of the Commons transport committee, said the proposal for an amber watchlist was a “giant red flag” that would cause bookings to collapse.

He added: “This is not the time be adding further complexity, uncertainty and anxiety to an already beleaguered sector."

The boss of trade body Airlines UK told The Sun that the Government was just “tying itself in knots with inexplicably complicated rules."

Tim Alderslade said: “This is the last chance saloon for the summer. Amber to most people is a glaring warning sign not to travel.

“Who would book a holiday knowing there’s a fair chance you will have to self-isolate when you get back?”

Brits have been given a holiday boost, however, with up to 17 countries potentially being added to the green list this week.

The government will make the announcement during the next travel review this week, expected on August 4 or August 5.

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