Seven countries added to green travel list
The government has also changed the rules regarding arrivals from France. From Sunday the fully vaccinated amber rules will apply – currently France is categorised as ‘amber plus’, with arrivals in the UK needing to self-isolate for 10 days even if they have had both jabs. In addition, Bahrain, India, Qatar and UAE will move to amber list from Sunday.
Georgia, Mayotte, Mexico and Reunion will move to the red list. The government says these countries present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation, or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days. A 10-day stay costs £1,750 for a single person, with a second adult (aged 12 or over) sharing a room costing an extra £650.
These costs will go up from 12 August, with solo travellers paying £2,285 and couples paying £3,715 (up from £2,400). The government says the price hikes are “in order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities”.
Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay. Children under five remain free, while there’s a £325 charge for children aged five to 12.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
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.
“While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public.”
Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “The government making changes to the test and quarantine requirements of 16 countries, with travelers given just a few days’ notice before they are introduced, is a reflection of just how unpredictable the rules on international travel are currently. Travelers will welcome the addition of more green list destinations, but countries have and can be downgraded quickly. The cost for travelers can be significant.
“Some holidaymakers whose countries have now been placed in the red category will find that their airline or tour operator is unwilling to give them a refund. Other providers won’t refund or even facilitate rebooking if a country is moved from green to amber.
“The most important choice travelers make this summer is who they book with – it is often the difference between getting a full refund for a trip you can no longer take or not getting a penny back.”