Good morning, it is Martin Belam here in London. Do you live in England? Are you confused about whether you can travel abroad, what the rules are, and what they mean? Don’t worry, you are far from being alone. PA Media this morning have summed up the chaotic messaging coming out of the UK government about international travel following Monday’s relaxing of restrictions.
British prime minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman, during a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, said leisure travel should still be restricted to the limited number of countries deemed safe by ministers, such as Portugal, which feature on the quarantine-free “green list”.
But two cabinet ministers appeared to offer a different reading of the rules, with environment secretary George Eustice telling broadcasters people could go to amber-listed countries as long as they observed quarantine rules on their return.
Welsh secretary Simon Hart, speaking after Johnson’s comments, said the public should ask themselves whether a trip to a country on the amber list was “essential” before conceding that “some people might think a holiday is essential”.
Further complicating matters, health minister Lord Bethell told peers he considered all foreign travel to be “dangerous” and urged Britons to holiday at home this summer.
As a reminder, the “green” list consists of Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, plus several small remote islands which are British Overseas Territories.
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands have severely restricted entry criteria. However Portugal is welcoming UK tourists who have had a recent negative test, have recovered from the virus and therefore have antibodies, or had both doses of a vaccine.
Gibraltar will not require UK visitors to be tested or vaccinated, whereas Israel will initially reopen its border on 23 May only to groups of foreign tourists who have had both jabs.
The “amber” list covers many popular holiday destinations such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece. Transport secretary Grant Shapps said “you should not be travelling to these places right now”.