Coronavirus UK: Holidaymakers' fury as families are forced to cancel trips to ...

Coronavirus UK: Holidaymakers' fury as families are forced to cancel trips to ...
Coronavirus UK: Holidaymakers' fury as families are forced to cancel trips to ...

British holidaymakers have revealed their fury as families are forced to cancel trips to France after a last-minute reversal of the amber list rule change.

Double-jabbed Britons will still have to quarantine from Monday after the dramatic u-turn was announced by the Government on Friday night.  

Holiday hopefuls had previously been told that they would be able to avoid 'Amber List' quarantine rules from Monday. That's the date when the Government had set down for allowing double jabbed Britons to return from Amber List countries without having to quarantine.

But France will now be made an exemption to that rule. It comes amid concerns over the spread of the Beta (South African) strain in France.

Charlotte Monier, a French translator  living in the UK, had hoped she would be able to spend longer with her family in France without having to quarantine - but has now had to cut the trip short.

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And Stephen Gee, who runs a chalet business in the Alps, has been forced to rush back to the coast to try to organise his journey home after originally extending his holiday to make the most of the original rule change.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'We’re trying to get back today but we have to put tests for travel in France. If we can pull that together we’ll travel this evening and then our quarantine will start. It is absolutely horrendous.' 

The move has raised eyebrows because in the seven days to July 14 there were 244,691 Covid cases in the UK, compared with 27,713 in France - while France's vaccination rates have almost caught up with Britain's.  

The sudden reversal, which will likely throw thousands of summer holiday plans into disarray, comes just days before the school summer holidays and the July 19 'Freedom Day'.

Airline bosses and travel chiefs last night decried the move as another blow to an already under pressure industry. 

Meanwhile, the UK's non-travel self-isolation rules were in chaos last night after the meat industry claimed its workers had been excused from quarantining if they are 'pinged' by the NHS Covid-19 app.

It came as the Ministry of Defence revealed 5,200 military personnel are off duty because they are self-isolating, leading MPs to warn the app could endanger national security.

Some NHS trusts are so short-staffed they are letting double-jabbed doctors and nurses work if pinged.  The chaos has forced hospitals to call off operations, factories to cancel shifts and some councils to tell residents bins will not be collected.

In other developments:

Daily Covid cases topped 50,000 for the first time since mid-January as another 51,870 tested positive. A further 49 deaths were recorded; Chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned the situation in hospitals could rapidly get 'quite scary' after the number of virus patients doubled in a fortnight; Solicitor general Lucy Frazer admitted ministers could consider reimposing restrictions if the spread of the virus became 'unacceptable'; Health Secretary Sajid Javid was urged to end 'excessive' Covid travel test costs to stop families being priced out of foreign holidays; Analysis by MailOnline suggests that in a worst-case scenario around six million adults could be in isolation by the end of the month;   There was fresh confusion after the meat industry claimed officials had said their staff did not need to quarantine if contacted by the app; The Ministry of Defence revealed 5,200 military personnel are off duty because they are self-isolating, leading MPs to warn the app could endanger national security; Some NHS trusts are so short-staffed they are letting double-jabbed doctors and nurses work if pinged; Scientists joined the revolt against rules requiring people to self-isolate if 'pinged' by the NHS Covid-19 app; 

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British holidaymakers were dealt yet another blow tonight after the Government announced travellers arriving from France will still have to quarantine - even if they have had both Covid jabs

The summer holiday plans of thousands lie in ruins this morning, with people cancelling their planned trips to the Balearic Islands after they were axed from the green list while the cost of flights back from Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca soared nine-fold after last night's announcement

The summer holiday plans of thousands lie in ruins this morning, with people cancelling their planned trips to the Balearic Islands after they were axed from the green list while the cost of flights back from Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca soared nine-fold after last night's announcement

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: 'Travel will be different this year'

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: 'With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured left) said: 'Travel will be different this year'. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured right) said: 'With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.'

The sudden change of heart by the Government on travel from France comes after reports earlier this week suggested that the Government was considering putting the country on the Red List.

This would have meant those arriving in the UK from France would have had to isolate in a quarantine hotel for 10 days - at a personal cost of £1,750 for one person.

But the Government has instead opted for a less extreme path, by keeping France on the Amber List but maintaining the traditional quarantine requirement for vaccinated and non-vaccinated Britons.

Those arriving back from France will now still have to isolate at home for up to 10 days. They will also need to take a Covid test after two and eight days in quarantine. 

However travellers can be released after five days providing they test negative under the Government's test and release scheme.

The rules also apply to fully vaccinated individuals who transit through France from either a green or another amber country.

However the Government says operators may make specific arrangements in line with public health regulations for transit without quarantine, such as those travelling by train from Belgium. 

In a statement, a Department of Health spokesman said: 'Anyone arriving from France to England must continue to quarantine for ten days at home or in other accommodation, even if they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Young British holidaymakers scramble to get back to the UK after Balearic quarantine change 

Instead of partying, young British holidaymakers in Ibiza queued for PCR tests yesterday as they scrambled to get back to the UK ahead of the quarantine deadline.

The Spanish island will turn amber on Monday along with the rest of the Balearics, meaning travellers who are not double-jabbed must quarantine on their return. All travellers need a PCR test to be allowed back in the UK.

Many youngsters – many of them unvaccinated – flocked to the party island after it turned green at the end of June, meaning they could travel without isolating later.

Yesterday dozens of holidaymakers, mainly in their 20s and 30s, queued outside a pharmacy in the resort of San Antonio as they need to get home before 4am on Monday.

Moving the Balearic Islands, which also include Majorca, Menorca and Formentera, on to the amber list is a blow to younger travellers as many of them are not fully jabbed.

 

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'It has been clear swift action will be taken on travel list allocations should the data show that countries risk to England have changed, including in France.'

Holidaygoers reacted with fury to the news online, as some revealed they had booked holidays just hours before the announcement.

Arwel Owen wrote: 'An hour ago, with travel restrictions lifted, I booked our holiday to France, plus £100 for two PCR tests.

'Now I'm going to have to cancel it as circumstances mean I can't isolate for 10 days on my return.'

Another tweeted: 'I could cry. I need to see my sister (who lives in France).

'My sister needs to see my 86-year-old mum in a care home. We are all fully vaccinated.

'It's not a holiday, it's a basic need to see family.'

Marc Cornelius added: 'Well thank you very much Grant Shapps. 

'Less than an hour after booking travel to France to see my parents, you change the rules.' 

Meanwhile, Georgina Thomas, a fully-vaccinated nurse from Buckinghamshire, has been visiting her parents in the countryside between La Rochelle and Bordeaux for the last three weeks with her one-year-old daughter Grace.

The 32-year-old said: 'I'm frustrated with the inconsistent approach the Government are taking, it doesn't all appear logical. If a quarantine is necessary then so be it but I'm confident that my risk will be higher when I return to the UK.' 

Ms Thomas is still on maternity leave and said of quarantining on her return: 'It will be a long 10 days but we are the fortunate ones, I understand that, plenty will think we shouldn't be travelling anyway.'

Graham McLeod, from Bolton, is staying in his holiday home in Charente Maritime on France's Atlantic coast with his partner, but they will now have to self-isolate when they return to the UK despite being fully vaccinated.

Britons in France speak of 'frustration' after Government ditches double-jabbed quarantine plan 

Georgina Thomas, a fully-vaccinated nurse from Buckinghamshire, has been visiting her parents in the countryside between La Rochelle and Bordeaux for the last three weeks with her one-year-old daughter Grace.

The 32-year-old said: 'I'm frustrated with the inconsistent approach the Government are taking, it doesn't all appear logical. If a quarantine is necessary then so be it but I'm confident that my risk will be higher when I return to the UK.' 

Ms Thomas is still on maternity leave and said of quarantining on her return: 'It will be a long 10 days but we are the fortunate ones, I understand that, plenty will think we shouldn't be travelling anyway.'

Graham McLeod, from Bolton, is staying in his holiday home in Charente Maritime on France's Atlantic coast with his partner, but they will now have to self-isolate when they return to the UK despite being fully vaccinated.

'In terms of government messaging, we'd say it's inconsistent, irregular, unclear and frankly unworkable,' the 63-year-old retiree said.

'We struggle to understand the sudden desire to introduce quarantine for returnees from France and cannot help feel this has far more to do with politics and much less to do with science.'

Mr McLeod had planned to stay in France for five weeks, but they are now planning to return after less than three weeks.

'We could stay and hope the situation changes but given the knee-jerk reaction by the UK government we cannot take the chance in case the situation deteriorates further,' he added. 

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'In terms of government messaging, we'd say it's inconsistent, irregular, unclear and frankly unworkable,' the 63-year-old retiree said.

'We struggle to understand the sudden desire to introduce quarantine for returnees from France and cannot help feel this has far more to do with politics and much less to do with science.'

Mr McLeod had planned to stay in France for five weeks, but they are now planning to return after less than three weeks.

'We could stay and hope the situation changes but given the knee-jerk reaction by the UK government we cannot take the chance in case the situation deteriorates further,' he added.

Debbie from Essex, who did not wish to share her second name, runs a chalet with her family in France which is set to take a financial hit as a result of the UK's new Covid isolation rules.

'We started in January 2020 so we haven't had a chance to get going,' the 49-year-old said.

'Bookings were just starting to pick up and we've been helped by European guests but this affects our vaccinated UK guests.'

Debbie said it costs her family over 3,000 euros per month to keep business going so they have had to borrow to keep it afloat.

'It seems to me that this is political game-playing... it's like watching a tennis match and the people are the ball,' she added.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: 'Travel will be different this year and whilst we are committed to continuing to open up international travel safely, our absolute priority is to protect public health here in the UK.

'We urge everyone thinking about going abroad this summer to check their terms and conditions as well as the travel restrictions abroad before they go.'

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: 'We have always been clear that we will not hesitate to take rapid action at our borders to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the gains made by our successful vaccination programme.

'With restrictions lifting on Monday across the country, we will do everything we can to ensure international travel is conducted as safely as possible, and protect our borders from the threat of variants.'

The news has been criticised by the travel industry, with Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade saying: 'These random rule changes make it almost impossible for travellers and industry to plan ahead, and can only further undermine consumer trust at the very peak of the summer season.'

Will your holiday be impacted by these changes? 

Email us at [email protected] 

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Meanwhile, Johan Lundgren, chief executive of EasyJet, said the government was 'making it up as they go along and causing confusion and uncertainty'.

He said: 'It is not backed up by the science or transparent data and this move pulls the rug out from under our customers who have already travelled to France or who are booked to travel there and so it is them I feel for.' 

A spokesperson for tade body ABTA said: 'While we understand that public health must come first, this announcement will undoubtedly dent consumer confidence in overseas travel just as we are about to see many amber-listed countries opening up for UK visitors in time for the summer holidays. 

'Continuing changes to travel restrictions will delay any meaningful recovery for the industry and this news is just the latest example of why a tailored package of financial support for the travel and tourism sector must be introduced.'  

Holidaygoers took to Twitter as they reacted with fury to the news, as some revealed they had booked trips to France just hours before the announcement

Holidaygoers took to Twitter as they reacted with fury to the news, as some revealed they had booked trips to France just hours before the announcement

The news has been criticised by the travel industry, including by Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of EasyJet, said the government was 'making it up as they go along and causing confusion and uncertainty'.

The news has been criticised by the travel industry, including by Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade (pictured left). Johan Lundgren (pictured right), chief executive of EasyJet, said the government was 'making it up as they go along and causing confusion and uncertainty'.

England's hospital situation could become 'quite scary', warns Chris Whitty 

Chris Whitty has warned that the situation in England's hospitals could rapidly become 'quite scary' after the number of Covid patients doubled in a fortnight.

One of the country's largest hospitals scrapped all planned surgeries yesterday as the NHS struggles to cope with surging admissions and unprecedented staff shortages.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham said a lack of intensive care beds has forced it to cancel dozens of operations including liver transplants over the past two days.

Professor Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, warned the NHS could 'get into trouble again surprisingly fast' after infections rose 67 per cent in a week.

His comments came as ministers admitted lockdown measures could be reimposed after Freedom Day on Monday if cases become 'unacceptable'. Yesterday, 717 people with Covid-19 were admitted to hospital, taking the total number in hospital to 3,964. This is twice what it was at the start of July but still down 90 per cent on the January peak.

Daily cases have topped 50,000 for the first time since mid-January as another 51,870 tested positive yesterday. Deaths are up 57 per cent in a week and there were another 49 yesterday.

Professor Whitty warned: 'I don't think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast.' He said the UK is 'not out of the woods yet' and that figures for those in hospital with coronavirus could reach 'quite scary numbers'.

'We've still got 2,000 people in hospital and that number is increasing,' he said. 'If we double from 2,000 to 4,000 to 8,000 and so on it doesn't take many doubling times until you're in very, very large numbers indeed.'

Health officials are alarmed by the ferocious spread of the Indian or Delta variant. The third wave is showing no sign of slowing despite nine in ten adults having been jabbed.

Solicitor General Lucy Frazer admitted that ministers could consider reimplementing restrictions if the spread of the virus becomes 'unacceptable'.

She said: 'If we get into a situation where it is unacceptable and we do need to put back further restrictions, then that of course is something the Government will look at.'

Operations have also been cancelled in Newcastle and Leeds, while in Sunderland staff have been asked to consider postponing holidays.

Hospitals in London have reopened Covid units to deal with rising admissions.

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It comes as British holidaymakers in Ibiza are dashing back to the UK before Monday's 4am quarantine deadline after ministers announced plans to strike Spain's Balearic Islands off the Government's green list of foreign travel destinations - despite having lower Covid rates than Britain.

Passengers could be seen queueing at a clinic in San Antonio to get PCR tests and racing to Ibiza Airport today, after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca will be demoted to the amber list.

Flight prices from the islands have soared by as much as nine times, with budget airline Ryanair's morning and evening trips from Palma de Mallorca to Manchester Airport rocketing from just £12 at the start of Wednesday to nearly £110, an hour before Mr Shapps' announcement.

Saturday's mid-afternoon British Airway flight from Ibiza to London Heathrow was priced at around £115. Within two hours, tickets for the same journey had increased to £220 - a 92 per cent increase. 

On the last easyJet flight from Menorca to Gatwick before the deadline, the last three seats on the passenger carrier cost £118 - around two-thirds more than the preannouncement fare, the Independent reports.

Double-vaccinated people will still be able to return from the Balearics quarantine free, even though they are on the amber list, when travel rules change on Monday. But the move will be a blow to younger holidaymakers who are not yet fully jabbed and will now have to quarantine on their return to the UK or cancel their booking altogether. 

Air industry bosses lined up to blast the Government's 'bitterly disappointing' move, while MPs warned that the 'on and off again' decision-making was 'creating huge uncertainty in the sector' and could lead to a jobs bloodbath in the autumn.

Furious Twitter users accused the Government of 'taking the pi**' and complained there is 'absolutely no point going abroad' until next year. One wrote: 'We're staying in the UK this year. We decided to not even try to go abroad, too much hassle, quarantines etc... and way too expensive'. 

Holidaymakers in Spain's Balearic Islands are now scrambling back to the UK to beat the latest quarantine deadline at 4am on Monday, July 19 - when most legal restrictions are due to be scrapped on England's so-called 'Freedom Day'.

TUI UK and Jet2 Holidays told MailOnline that they are not cancelling trips to Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca but blasted the sudden move. A spokesman for Jet2 Holidays said: 'Hardworking customers and families continue to be judged by a different and stricter set of rules when it comes to taking their well-deserved holidays. Travel is not, and should not be, the preserve of the wealthy and powerful.' 

One unvaccinated couple told MailOnline they would have to cancel their trip to Ibiza to reunite with their grandchildren for the first time since the pandemic began, now that self-isolation rules for returning travellers are being re-imposed on the Balearics.

Another family who are due to fly to Menorca on Friday revealed that they were now stuck in limbo with travel agents and airlines refusing to offer refunds. Others who flew out from Gatwick said they were already considering cutting their holidays short to bypass the 10-day home quarantine.

Holidaymakers can be seen queueing outside a clinic in San Antonio to get PCR tests ahead of their flights back to the UK

Holidaymakers can be seen queueing outside a clinic in San Antonio to get PCR tests ahead of their flights back to the UK

British holidaymakers in Ibiza are dashing back to the UK before Monday's 4am quarantine deadline

British holidaymakers in Ibiza are dashing back to the UK before Monday's 4am quarantine deadline

Are these the figures that sparked the Government into putting the Balearic Islands back on the Amber List? 

The Balearic Islands' 14-day new infection rate has surged to around 408 per 100,000 of the population.

The total number of coronavirus cases across the islands on Wednesday stood at 4,896, up 6 per cent on the previous day.

The number of adults who have been fully jabbed is 510,108, or 49.2 per cent of the adult population.

Sixty-four per cent - or 665,809 people - have had their first jab. However, just 81 Covid patients were in hospital in Majorca.

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Arriving back after Monday would also mean having to shell out as much as another £100 for an extra post-arrival Covid test. 

Though Bulgaria and Hong Kong have been fully downgraded to the green list, Croatia and Taiwan are on what's known as the 'green watch list' which means they can be reverted back to amber at any moment. Those looking for a quick switch from the Balearics could face an uphill battle, with red tape potentially getting in the way of a trip to Croatia and Bulgaria. 

Speaking to MailOnline, Mark Littlewood, director-general at the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank, said: 'Moving a country from green to amber might be as easy as flicking a switch for policymakers but it will deliver a devastating blow to industries that have been clobbered by 18 months of Covid restrictions.

'Companies in the aviation and tourism sectors are clinging on by their fingernails. Their survival hinges on certainty and a summer boost. Government is providing neither. Business owners - and the public at large - are finding it increasingly difficult to discern exactly what is changing on our so-called Freedom Day.

'As for me, I don't care whether politicians think the colour of a specific destination is green, yellow, orange, pink or violet - and I'm inclined to ignore this nonsense on my travels to Majorca next month.

Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he did not understand the decision to axe the Balearic Islands from the green list - calling the move 'disappointing'. 

Henry Smith, Tory chairman of the All-Party Future of Aviation Group, said the move is 'creating huge uncertainty in the sector and for the millions of people desperate for a summer holiday' as he slammed what he called on again, off again' decision-making.

Speaking to MailOnline, he warned of a jobs bloodbath in the autumn, arguing that the move to strike popular holiday destinations off the so-called green list 'is likely to create huge trouble for the industry, and could lead to significant unemployment in the coming weeks and months'. 

Holidaymakers in Spain's Balearic Islands are now scrambling back to the UK to beat the quarantine deadline on Monday

Holidaymakers in Spain's Balearic Islands are now scrambling back to the UK to beat the quarantine deadline on Monday

Passengers could be seen queueing at a clinic in San Antonio to get PCR tests ahead of their flights back to the UK

Passengers could be seen queueing at a clinic in San Antonio to get PCR tests ahead of their flights back to the UK

Holidaymakers can be seen queueing outside a clinic in San Antonio to get PCR tests ahead of their flights back to the UK

Holidaymakers can be seen queueing outside a clinic in San Antonio to get PCR tests ahead of their flights back to the UK

Masked holidaymakers entering Ibiza Airport as they fly back to the UK today to beat Monday's quarantine deadline

Masked holidaymakers entering Ibiza Airport as they fly back to the UK today to beat Monday's quarantine deadline 

Double-vaccinated people will still be able to return from the Balearic Islands quarantine free, even though they are on the amber list, when travel rules change on Monday

Double-vaccinated people will still be able to return from the Balearic Islands quarantine free, even though they are on the amber list, when travel rules change on Monday

Passengers can be seen queueing at baggage drop-off inside Ibiza Airport ahead of their flights back to the UK

Passengers can be seen queueing at baggage drop-off inside Ibiza Airport ahead of their flights back to the UK

British holidaymakers in Ibiza are dashing back to the UK before Monday's 4am quarantine deadline

British holidaymakers in Ibiza are dashing back to the UK before Monday's 4am quarantine deadline

Furious Twitter users accused the Government of 'taking the pi**' and complained there is 'absolutely no point going abroad' until next year. One wrote: 'We're staying in the UK this year. We decided to not even try to go abroad, too much hassle, quarantines etc... and way too expensive'

Furious Twitter users accused the Government of 'taking the pi**' and complained there is 'absolutely no point going abroad' until next year. One wrote: 'We're staying in the UK this year. We decided to not even try to go abroad, too much hassle, quarantines etc... and way too expensive'

What are the rules for people returning to England from abroad? 

AMBER LIST  

Take a Covid-19 test in the three days before you arrive in Britain  Book and pay for day two and day eight Covid-19 tests – to be taken after arrival in England Quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days, and complete a passenger locator form  From July 19, if you are vaccinated, you won't need to quarantine in England - but you will need to take a test before arriving back in the country, and then another on day two after your return

For arrivals returning from an amber list country, before arriving in England, you must take a private PCR or lateral flow test in the three days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs.

For example, if you travel to England on Friday, you can take the test on or after Tuesday and will need to have the negative result available before boarding on Friday.

Before you arrive in England, you must also book and pay for day two and day eight Covid-19 tests, to be taken after your arrival in England.

But under the Test to Release scheme you can choose to pay for a private Covid-19 test on day five. If the result is negative (and the result of your day two test result was negative or inconclusive), you can end your quarantine.

From 4am on July 19, you will not need to quarantine on arrival in England or take a day eight Covid-19 test, as long as you are fully vaccinated. This means that you have had your final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before the date you arrive in England.

If you are not fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme, you will have to quarantine on arrival and take both the day 2 and day 8 tests. If you arrive in England before 4am on July 19, you must follow the current rules, even if you have been fully vaccinated.

*Though France is on the amber list, those arriving in the UK from France will still have to self-isolate for 10 days from Monday - as per Friday's announcement

RED LIST

You can only enter England if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK Take a Covid-19 test in the three days before you arrive in Britain  Book a quarantine hotel package, including two Covid-19 tests, and fill out a passenger locator form

If you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the last ten days you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK. 

You must also take a Covid-19 test in the three days before you arrive and book into a quarantine hotel.

The rate for one adult in one room for ten days (11 nights) is £1,750, while the additional rate for one adult (or child over 11) is £650, and for a child aged 5 to 11 it is £325.

While in the quarantine hotel you must also take two Covid-19 tests. 

GREEN LIST

Take a Covid-19 test in the three days before you arrive in Britain Book and pay for a day two Covid-19 test, which will be taken after your arrival in England Complete a passenger locator form

Before arriving in England, you must take a private PCR or lateral flow test in the three days before the service on which you will arrive in England departs. 

You cannot take an NHS test abroad with you to use on yourself before you return. If you are returning to the UK within three days, you can use the result of a Covid-19 test that you take in the UK before you travel - but this must be from a private test provider and not the NHS. 

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Mr Smith, chairman of the  said in response: 'I think it's incredibly disappointing, I would have liked to have seen the Government adding more countries onto the green list rather than removing them. I think we should be much more concerned with restarting international travel than we are, particularly as we move into the summer period.

'There are two reasons for this. The first is the success of the vaccination roll-out, with even under-18s being offered the jab. The Government should be moving to allow people to head abroad without restrictions if they are jabbed because the vaccines significantly reduce the risk of serious illness.

'The second is that the travel sector has been absolutely devastated by months of restrictions and this Government's on again, off again attitude to international travel. We need a period of solid summer holidaying now to allow the industry to begin recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

'Instead, the Government is creating an environment of tremendous uncertainty which is making it practically impossible for travel firms to operate. They need time to be able to adapt to any changes which are introduced.

'I think if we are not careful, this on again, off again policy is likely to create huge trouble for the industry, and could lead to significant unemployment in the coming weeks and months.' 

Flight prices from the archipelago have soared as much as nine times, with budget airline Ryanair's morning and evening trips from Palma de Mallorca to Manchester Airport rocketing from just £12 at the start of yesterday to nearly £110 an hour before Mr Shapps' announcement.

On the last easyJet flight from Menorca to Gatwick before the deadline, the last three seats on the passenger carrier cost £118 - around two-thirds more than the preannouncement fare, the Independent reports. 

Mr Shapps showed no sympathy for the thousands of Britons who could be affected by the sudden change to the travel list, telling them that uncertainty was a 'fact of life'. He said the reason the Balearics had been demoted to the Amber List was because Covid case rates there had more than doubled. 

He added: 'When people book, particularly to a green watchlist country, you need to make sure you can get your money back. For some - children, those under 18 plus people who have been double vaccinated - you won't have to quarantine. Treat it as though it is still a green country. But it will mean some people... will have to come home.'  

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who sits on the Transport Select Committee, criticised the Government for failing to move relatively low-risk countries such as Germany and Italy to the 'green list'. 

He wrote on Twitter: '#Germany 7 day #COVID19 rates per 100,000 6 #Italy 14 #UK 348! Perverse that these & other countries with a fraction of our rates have not gone green today, dealing another hammer blow to separated families & our transport sector. Much safer there than here! #speakupfortravel'. 

In his criticism, Jet 2's Mr Heapy added: 'We have a two tier system: (for the average person) travel is beyond them because they have to pay for tests when they get back. The average person can't go on holiday, but 70,000 people can cram into a football stadium... Travel is beyond the reach of a lot of people, unless you're rich and privileged.'   

A spokesman for Jet2 Holidays told MailOnline: 'If customers have been fully vaccinated, today's announcement changes nothing whatsoever. These customers (and children travelling with them who are under 18) can continue to enjoy, or look forward to enjoying, quarantine-free flights and holidays from across the UK to any destination on the Green or Amber List this summer. 

'From the demand we are seeing this is most certainly the case, with customers looking to enjoy the benefits of the successful vaccination programme by getting away to the sunshine.

'That said, as restrictions across the UK continue to be eased and 'VIPs' travel carte-blanche, it is still unfair that hardworking customers and families continue to be judged by a different and stricter set of rules when it comes to taking their well-deserved holidays. Travel is not, and should not be, the preserve of the wealthy and powerful.

'It is frustrating that decisions continue to be made about international travel whilst the criteria for these decisions are withheld from us. Once again, we call on Governments to be transparent, both with the data and their parameters for making decisions.'  

Andrew Flintham, Managing Director for TUI UK, said in a statement: 'The latest travel announcement will be disappointing for customers who are not yet fully vaccinated, looking forward to well-deserved holidays, or to reconnect with loved ones. 

'The continued lack of transparency about the methodology and data behind these changes make it incredibly difficult for customers to book far in advance with confidence.'

Food shortages warning as abattoir staff get NHS app exemption: Six million Britons face being told to stay at home every week - as infections bust 50,000 barrier

By Tom Witherow, Harriet Line and Eleanor Hayward for the Daily Mail

Self-isolation rules were in chaos last night after the meat industry claimed its workers had been excused from quarantining if they are 'pinged' by the NHS Covid-19 app.

It came as the Ministry of Defence revealed 5,200 military personnel are off duty because they are self-isolating, leading MPs to warn the app could endanger national security. Some NHS trusts are so short-staffed they are letting double-jabbed doctors and nurses work if pinged.

Nearly 900,000 alerts telling people to quarantine were issued in the first week of this month after contact with a coronavirus case.

Ministers have said the lifting of restrictions on Monday – dubbed 'Freedom Day' – is likely to push daily infections to more than 100,000, which could force around half a million a day to self-isolate.

The chaos has forced hospitals to call off operations, factories to cancel shifts and some councils to tell residents bins will not be collected.  

It comes as it was revealed how England could be economically paralysed within weeks without action to halt the Covid app 'pingdemic' forcing hundreds of thousands of workers to stay at home.

Analysis by MailOnline suggests that in a worst-case scenario around six million adults could be in isolation by the end of the month.  

Up to 1million people were asked to self-isolate last week, data suggests. But that figure could hit 5.6million by the end of the month, if cases spiral by 75 per cent every week (right), according to MailOnline analysis. Separate projections based on a growth rate of 40 per cent - similar to what Test and Trace reported last week - still says the number of people self-isolating could hit 3million a week. But the true figure will be much lower because many people who are told to self-isolate end up testing positive, and some people will be flagged down by both NHS Test and Trace and the app

Up to 1million people were asked to self-isolate last week, data suggests. But that figure could hit 5.6million by the end of the month, if cases spiral by 75 per cent every week (right), according to MailOnline analysis. Separate projections based on a growth rate of 40 per cent - similar to what Test and Trace reported last week - still says the number of people self-isolating could hit 3million a week. But the true figure will be much lower because many people who are told to self-isolate end up testing positive, and some people will be flagged down by both NHS Test and Trace and the app

Around 1.8million people were asked to self-isolate last week in England, data suggests. That includes 194,000 people who tested positive, 520,000 who were 'pinged' by the app, almost 340,000 who were contacted directly by Test and Trace, and 750,000 schoolchildren

Around 1.8million people were asked to self-isolate last week in England, data suggests. That includes 194,000 people who tested positive, 520,000 who were 'pinged' by the app, almost 340,000 who were contacted directly by Test and Trace, and 750,000 schoolchildren 

NHS England data showed a record 520,000 alerts were sent by the app last week, telling people they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive

NHS England data showed a record 520,000 alerts were sent by the app last week, telling people they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive

Leading scientists join the revolution against the 'pingdemic'

By Eleanor Hayward and Shaun Wooller for the Daily Mail 

Scientists yesterday joined the revolt against the 'pingdemic' as research suggested half a million Britons are currently isolating for no reason.

Experts said there was 'no evidence' to support the draconian self-isolation policy that is grinding the economy to a standstill.

But scientists advising the Government defended the app, saying it was doing what it was intended to do. Professor Cath Noakes, of Leeds University, said the issue was the 'really high prevalence of the virus'.

However, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) suggested that people should ignore alerts from the NHS Covid-19 app.

Last week 530,126 people in England and Wales were pinged and told to self-isolate for up to ten days after coming into contact with a Covid case. But just 6 per cent of those who are 'pinged' go on to develop the virus, according to a study by Oxford University. That would mean 498,318 of those alerted last week are unnecessarily staying at home, suggests the research published in the journal Nature.

Professor Calum Semple of Sage said yesterday it would be 'entirely reasonable' for those who are double-jabbed to ignore a ping. He said it would be 'much more helpful' for close contacts to get tested instead,

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