Government ‘increasingly confident’ of expanding green and amber lists

The foreign secretary says the government is “increasingly confident” more countries will be granted green and amber status on its traffic light lists, following the easing of inbound restrictions from August 2.

Dominic Raab told Sky News: “We’ve done the job we had to do domestically and as we see other countries catch up if you like, I think we are increasingly confident that more countries will go either on amber or on to green.”

The government confirmed on Wednesday that fully-vaccinated travellers from the US and amber list countries in the EU would be exempt from quarantine from August 2. The announcement initially applied to England, with Wales and Scotland subsequently confirming they would follow suit.

The next update to the traffic light lists is due next week, and Raab did not rule out a change in category for Spain after reports that it could move to the amber-plus status that France currently holds.

He said: “I can’t rule things out that the JBC (Joint Biosecurity Centre) and the government will decide but they’ll make that decision next week in terms of the traffic light system for all the relevant countries.”

Raab said other countries had already made contact to enquire about reciprocal agreements following the announcement of the easing on Wednesday.

He said: “We keep an eye on the variants, but because of the 70% double vaccination of our population and because we are insisting only people from the US, the EU and perhaps in due course, as we build up confidence in the system other countries, we proceed on that basis.”

He added: “Already overnight I have had foreign ministers message me saying we’ve noticed the announcement – what can we do to do this on a reciprocal basis.”

Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “It’s positive to see the possibility of more countries being added to the government’s green and amber lists in the coming days.

“However, as we saw with France and now potentially Spain, countries with rising case rates can have further travel restrictions imposed on them with little or no notice.

“With the introduction of quarantine and expensive tests remaining a risk for some travellers, as well as thousands of people every day being told to self-isolate or testing positive, it’s vital that anyone considering a holiday chooses a provider that will let them rebook or claim a refund if coronavirus-related disruption prevents them from travelling. Holidaymakers should also get comprehensive travel insurance cover to protect them against these risks.”

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