Ministers urge PM to expand travel 'green list' ahead of announcement

Boris under pressure to fix foreign holidays FAST! Ministers urge PM to expand ‘green list’ of safe nations and lift ban on overseas trips before May 17 – but MPs want overseas travel to be ‘discouraged’ despite being legal

  • Ministers ‘preparing to challenge’ Boris Johnson over length of travel ‘green list’
  • Up to two dozen countries could feature on the list, expected to be set this week 
  • But many will be overseas territories – which are not the usual holiday hotspots
  • It comes as a group of MPs have warned travel should be discouraged once legal 

Boris Johnson is today facing pressure from ministers to expand the travel ‘green list’ and give millions of Britons hopes of a holiday abroad this summer.

Ministers are reportedly set to challenge the Prime Minister today over the number of countries placed on the travel ‘green list’.

It is expected around two dozen countries will be placed on the Government’s quarantine-free travel list when it is published on Friday. 

British overseas territories are expected to feature heavily on the list. But many of these are not traditional holiday hotspots for Britons.

Mr Johnson is now facing pressure to expand the list ahead of its publication on Friday, according to the Times.

It comes as a group of MPs are today warning that holidays should be discouraged even once legal.

The all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus are urging ministers to heed the warning of experts who fear a new wave of Covid infections if international travel is given the go-ahead.

Boris Johnson is today facing pressure from ministers to expand the travel ‘green list’ and give millions of Britons hopes of a holiday abroad this summer. Pictured: A beach in Malaga, Spain

Ministers are reportedly set to challenge the Prime Minister (pictured) today over the number of countries placed on the travel ‘green list’

The Government is expected to announce as early as this week the first countries that Britons can visit without having to quarantine – but the list is only believed to include a handful of destinations.

Sources say the so-called ‘green list’ will be updated every three weeks, raising the prospect that new countries – including popular destinations in Europe – will be announced before the end of this month.

For much of the country, the half-term break starts on May 31.

Under the traffic-light system for foreign travel, those returning from green countries will not need to quarantine but will have to take two Covid tests – one before they return to the UK, which can be either a lateral flow or PCR test, and a PCR test on the second day after they arrive back.

Under the traffic-light system for foreign travel, those returning from green countries will not need to quarantine but will have to take two Covid tests – one before they return to the UK, which can be either a lateral flow or PCR test, and a PCR test on the second day after they arrive back.

Families are set to get the go-ahead to take summer holidays in some popular European hotspots before the end of the month, The Mail on Sunday can reveal (Gibraltar pictured)

Sources say the so-called ‘green list’ will be updated every three weeks, raising the prospect that new countries – including popular destinations in Europe

Those who return from countries designated as either amber or red will still have to quarantine, either at home or in a hotel, and have three compulsory tests. Government officials are debating whether to stick to previous policy plans of having all children under 11 exempt from having to take the tests.

The majority of European countries are expected to be given amber status this week, but there is optimism that some will turn green when the list is next updated.

The ban on overseas holidays will end on May 17, along with the threat of fines for attempting to travel without a permitted reason.

But ahead of the lifting of restrictions, a cabinet split has emerged, according to the Times.

According to the paper, cabinet ministers have privately urged the Prime Minister overrule Health Secretary Matt Hancock and England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty.

The pair are said to be pushing Mr Johnson to limit the number of countries on the ‘green list’ to a ‘tiny’ group.  

One government source told the Times: ‘You’ve got the usual hawks on the health side like Matt Hancock and Chris Whitty who are more cautious.’

However another cabinet minister told the paper they were attempting to step in and increase the number of countries on the list.

They said: ‘The government has no right to take people’s freedoms away. It did it because we were in an emergency but these rights don’t belong to the government.’

Foreign holidays look set to resume this month as the Government prepares to reveal the ‘green list’ next week. Ministers are poised to decide next week that foreign holidays can resume from May 17, the next stage at which restrictions ease

Meanwhile, the all-party parliamentary group on Covid (APPG) has today issued a report recommending holidays abroad should be discouraged – even once they are made legal.

In their report, the cross-party group of MPs said: ‘The UK government should discourage all international leisure travel to prevent the importation of new variants into the UK, in order to reduce the risk of a third wave and further lockdowns.

‘This recommendation should be implemented immediately and reviewed on a quarterly basis.’

The group have insisted the Government keep restrictions and continue to prop-up the travel industry – who could lose billions of pounds if foreign holidays are banned for a second successive year.  

It comes as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday warned that some measures such as masks will be in place into the summer.

While he insisted the UK is ‘turning the corner’ as Covid recedes, he stressed ‘some safeguards’ may remain to ward off a potential further wave of the virus.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘We want to get to the position at the end of June when we can get life back as close to normal as possible, but there will still need to be some safeguards in place.’

Mr Raab later refused to deny there were tensions within the cabinet about easing foreign travel, telling Times Radio: ‘It’s absolutely right that we discuss and debate those issues very carefully. We want to open up, that’s our instinct as a country.

‘We want to be having the travel for social reasons and for economic reasons.

‘On the other hand, obviously it goes without saying we want to make sure we can do it safely. So I think that’s the right approach. It’s a balance.’ 

Source: Read Full Article

click fraud detection