The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England. This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watchlist to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania, and Norway will be added to the government’s green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health. India, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved. The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.
All changes will come into effect at 4am on Sunday 8 August 2021 in England.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we’ve made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.”
Travel industry believes the system is too complicated
The travel industry has responded with scepticism. Timothy Davis, Co-Founder and CEO of travel agency Butter, commented: “The government claims it wants to keep rules on foreign travel as simple as possible, but the fact of the matter is it would be easier to negotiate a 15 strong family game of Cluedo at Christmas compared to booking a hassle-free holiday at present.
“This complex and painstaking process is bringing further turmoil to a travel and tourism sector that can do little else but stand and watch as another summer of restrictions prevents a return to health.”
Co-Founder of hotel booking platform hoo, Adrian Murdock, added: “The unfortunate reality of the shambolic traffic light system is that any good news that comes via the latest review could well be the latest government u-turn come the next. As a result, holidaymakers remain deterred from travelling and we’re simply not seeing any notable degree of stability return to the sector.
“Many are now resigned to the fact that we face another year of holidays at home and while Britain isn’t a bad backup plan, it remains bitterly disappointing for those who had hoped of getting away.”