MPs assure British tourists the 'traffic lights' won't change while they are ...

MPs assure British tourists the 'traffic lights' won't change while they are ...
MPs assure British tourists the 'traffic lights' won't change while they are ...

British holidaymakers should be given a 'guarantee' that the traffic light rules that apply when they touch down abroad will be the same for their return, MPs have said.

It comes as millions of summer holidays risk being thrown into chaos by plans for a danger list that could force people to pay for hotel quarantine upon returning to the UK.

Last week Ministers agreed in principle a new 'amber watch list' which could mean amber countries go straight to red.

In an attempt to protect holidaymakers who have already gone to an amber country, MPs last night called for a guarantee they would not have to quarantine because their destination was placed on the red list while they were abroad.

Ministers agreed in principle to a new 'amber watch list'. MPs called for a guarantee tourists would not have to quarantine if a location was placed on the red list while they were abroad. Pictured: British holidaymakers leaving Ibiza airport on July 16

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Ministers agreed in principle to a new 'amber watch list'. MPs called for a guarantee tourists would not have to quarantine if a location was placed on the red list while they were abroad. Pictured: British holidaymakers leaving Ibiza airport on July 16

Most viable European holiday destinations, including Spain and Italy, are amber. There are fears both countries could be moved to the tougher watch list as early as this week

Most viable European holiday destinations, including Spain and Italy, are amber. There are fears both countries could be moved to the tougher watch list as early as this week

It would mean people who flew out under one set of rules would be allowed to fly back on the same rules, even if the country designation changed while there.

Sir John Hayes, who leads the Common Sense group of Tory MPs, said: 'It is really important holidaymakers know where they stand. The worst in the world would be if you have flown somewhere and find you will not be able to get back except at significant cost.'

He called on Ministers to 'get the balance right' and not 'move the goal posts' for fully vaccinated people who were told they could fly to amber countries without needing to isolate.

'Hopefully we can sort something out that reassures people that if they do embark on a trip without being stranded. It's common sense.'

Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, said there should be a time-limited window in which people can fly back under the same rules they flew out on.

He called on Ministers to introduce 'some sort of fortnight guarantee if you travelled in good faith, you should be allowed to come back in on the conditions you left.'

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The MP added the current system is 'really putting people off international travel, to places that are arguably safer than many parts of the UK. The real effects will be more job losses in the travel and aviation sectors.'

The new traffic light plan comes just weeks after double-jabbed Brits were told they could go to amber countries without having to self-isolate on their return. However France was moved to an 'amber plus' list and exempted.

Most viable European holiday destinations, including Spain and Italy, are amber. There are fears both countries could be moved to the tougher watch list as early as this week. 

Tom Hunt, the Conservative who also sits on the Common Sense Group of MPs, said that, unless the Government this week 'significantly' expands the green list, people flying to amber list countries should be given more protection.

Mr Hunt said giving people a guarantee they can return on the same rules they flew out with is 'reasonable' and called on the Government to consider it.

The MP called on Ministers to 'chart a balance between keeping an eye on variants and borders, and giving certainty to holidaymakers.

Mr Hunt also warned of the mental health impact on holidaymakers finally trying to get a break. 'If you're checking your phone every hour when over in one of these countries, anxious about it changing category, it counteracts the whole point of a holiday,' he said.

Claire Brophy, 40, from Marlow, Buckinghamshire, flew to Alicante yesterday to see her parents for the first time in a year.

If Spain moved on to a red list she would have to fly home immediately to allow time to self-isolate before the start of her two children's school term and pay about £600 for Covid tests.

She said: 'Changing the traffic lights for Spain absolutely shouldn't be allowed: the cost of that for our family would be ludicrous. If this trip was just for a holiday, I wouldn't bother. But I haven't seen my family since last August.'

She and husband Damien, 39, booked their second vaccinations when the Government said double-jabbed passengers travelling to amber countries would be exempt from quarantine from July 19.

But Ms Brophy is now angry the freedom promised by the vaccine could be taken away.

Last night the travel industry attacked Ministers' traffic lights approach and 'chaos' over travel.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airlines UK, which represents the UK's major airlines, said: 'Cooking up yet another traffic light tier at will – the sixth since the Global Travel Taskforce was published – would be a further blow to demand in the middle of what is supposed to be the peak summer season.

'The Government must focus on getting more countries on to the green list during its review next week. That's the single best way to provide the necessary reassurance to families desperate to get away.'

'You'd have to be crackers to book a holiday': Fury at travel chaos as Spain, France and Italy face going on another NEW danger list amid cabinet battle between pro-crackdown ministers versus Shapps and Sunak New plans for an 'amber watch list' sparked uproar in Whitehall over concerns they will ruin Britons' holidays  It would see tourists warned while abroad amber spots could go on red list and they would have to quarantine Countries including Spain and Italy could both be placed in category as soon as next week reports suggested However some senior ministers are pushing back against the new plans over the impact on the travel industry 

By Katie Feehan for MailOnline, Jason Groves and Shaun Wooller for the Daily Mail 

Ministers have been condemned for causing quarantine confusion as raging battle has erupted in the cabinet over plans for a danger list of countries that could see destinations like Spain and Italy suddenly move to red.

The plans for a new 'amber watch list' sparked outrage in Whitehall as some ministers believe it could ruin the holiday hopes of millions of Britons.

The idea, which was agreed in principle this week, would see holidaymakers warned that while they are abroad certain amber countries could go straight on to the red list. 

This would leave them facing compulsory hotel quarantine on their return, at a cost of £1,750 a head.

Spain and Italy both featured in talks about countries that could be put into the new category – as soon as next week – amid fears about the Beta variant, which first emerged in South Africa. 

UK FACES A 'RISKY' AUTUMN BECAUSE OF FOREIGN HOLIDAYS AND RETURN OF STUDENTS 

A document dated July 14 stated the importance of global surveillance on the emergence of new variants and added: 'Any increase in foreign travel over the summer and the return of international students to universities in the autumn is of particular concern.'

In the same document from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group (SPI-M-O), experts warned that September and October 'will be a particularly risky point in the trajectory of the epidemic'.

It states that 'significant pressures on healthcare could be seen' if more normal behaviours, following the lifting of many restrictions, coincide with the return of schools and universities.

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Senior ministers, including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, are said to have reservations about imposing further disruption on the beleaguered travel sector.

Mr Shapps urged people to 'ignore speculation' ahead of decisions next week. But behind the scenes a battle is raging.

One Whitehall source said: 'You would have to be crackers to book a holiday to a place knowing that it could go on to the red list at any moment.

'If you have already booked to go there you are going to spend your whole holiday worrying whether you are going to have to make a dash to the airport to get home.

'The decision next week will basically be in place for August. It is peak holiday season – are we really going to cause that much disruption to this many people?'

Another source said that the Treasury had warned ministers to 'stop messing about with travel'.

Some ministers doubt whether it is even possible to put Spain on the red list this summer, given the limited amount of hotel quarantine capacity in the UK.

There was a glimmer of hope that France could be released from the 'amber-plus' list, meaning the fully vaccinated will finally be able to return to the UK without the need to quarantine.

But it could still go into the amber watch category.

The row came as:

Boris Johnson faced pressure to end the 'pingdemic' early, after Wales said it was lifting self-isolation rules for the fully vaccinated on August 9; Mr Shapps warned that businesses would be allowed to insist that staff have the Covid jab before returning to work, despite a Tory mutiny over vaccine passports; Italy extended quarantine provisions for UK visitors; Greece warned tighter restrictions could be imposed on party islands such as Mykonos amid concerns that tourists were ignoring Covid rules; Daily case numbers fell below 30,000 again, with the weekly total down by 36 per cent; Mr Shapps denied claims by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab that France had been placed on the 'amber-plus' list because of an outbreak of Beta cases on the overseas territory of Reunion; Sources suggested a string of European countries, including Germany, Slovakia and Slovenia, could go on the green list this week; A shock poll found that the Tories could lose a dozen seats in their southern heartlands, with Mr Raab and former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith among those at risk.

Government health advisers however, are said to be alarmed by the potential for importing Covid infections. Cases of the Beta variant are of particular concern because it has proved more resistant to the AstraZeneca jab.

Sage committee papers released on Friday revealed scientists have warned that 'any increase in foreign travel over the summer ... is of particular concern'.

Data expert Tim White said Test and Trace figures showed 2.9 per cent of arrivals in England from Spain between July 1 and 21 tested positive for Covid. 

He added: 'From the data, my analysis is bleak.'

But Paul Charles of the PC Agency, a travel consultancy, predicted ministers would back off putting Spain on the new amber watch list.

SAGE said that England's R rate was now thought to be between 1.1 and 1.4, but it was a varied picture across the country. The R rate was estimated to be the highest in the East (1.1 to 1.5), followed by London, the South East and the South West (all 1.2 to 1.5). Following these regions was the Midlands (1.1 to 1.4), the North East and Yorkshire (1.1 to 1.3) and the North West (1 to 1.2)

SAGE said that England's R rate was now thought to be between 1.1 and 1.4, but it was a varied picture across the country. The R rate was estimated to be the highest in the East (1.1 to 1.5), followed by London, the South East and the South West (all 1.2 to 1.5). Following these regions was the Midlands (1.1 to 1.4), the North East and Yorkshire (1.1 to 1.3) and the North West (1 to 1.2)

He said: 'He said: 'I think it would be a very brazen Government that would tell a million British tourists in Spain at the moment, and Balearics, they would have to quarantine on their way back.'

Mr Charles said the Government already has the power to move amber countries to the red list with little warning, meaning an amber watch list is essentially pointless.

He added: 'Ministers have created this situation where the traffic light scheme is not as simple as it should have been - they continually add to it and create new categories and that's putting off consumers who cannot be bothered.

'It seems quite deliberate to confuse and put them off and that is no way to help the travel sector.'

Calling for the traffic light system to be scrapped, he added: 'Even government ministers are disagreeing with themselves over how to apply their own traffic light rules.

'The system is a complete mess. No-one apart from ministers seems to have confidence in how red, amber or green countries are chosen.

ENGLAND COVID HOSPITALISATIONS: Department of Health statistics show the average number of patients needing care stood at 785 on July 25, down on the day before (793)

ENGLAND COVID HOSPITALISATIONS: Department of Health statistics show the average number of patients needing care stood at 785 on July 25, down on the day before (793)

'The data is opaque, the explanations lacking. It’s no wonder

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