The EU’s travel plan
- Anyone who has received their final dose of an EU-approved vaccine within the last two weeks can travel. This includes all of the vaccines used in the UK and the US.
- Children who have not yet had a vaccine van enter with their parents if they provide a negative test.
- EU expected to produce a ‘green list’ for holiday travel from low risk countries – those with an infection rate below 100 Covid cases per 100,000.
- The UK, with 44 cases per 100,000, and the US, with 35 per 100,000, make the cut.
- Until there is a uniform EU digital passport set up, countries should be able to ‘accept certificates from non-EU countries based on national law.’ In the case of the UK, the NHS app is anticipated to be able to provide the requisite level of proof.
- People from low risk countries who have not received a vaccine will be able to travel if they provide a negative test.
The European Union is set to approve vaccine passports later today that will allow fully-vaccinated residents of non-EU states to enter without needing to test or quarantine.
EU ambassadors are expected to green light the plan which allows unrestricted entry, providing arrivals have had their final dose of a vaccine within the last two weeks.
Currently, the British Government rates all European countries as ‘amber’ – requiring quarantine and two PCR tests – except for Portugal and Gibraltar which are on the green list.
Boris Johnson‘s Cabinet were yesterday accused of sowing ‘mass confusion’ as one minister suggested that journeys to amber list countries were OK, only for the PM to later overrule him and warn that such travel was unacceptable.
EU member states are going to allow fully-vaccinated people from non-EU countries to enter based on whether their country of origin has an infection rate below 100 Covid cases per 100,000 people – Britain falls comfortably within this category with an infection rate of 44.
Those who have not had a vaccine from one of those low risk countries will have to have negative test before setting off.
But the British Government’s contradictory messages have left travel bosses desperately seeking clarity as they’ve already taken five million bookings for summer holidays to amber list countries.
Droves of Britons have already taken advantage of cheaper prices and booked to travel abroad to amber list destinations, with most planning to head to Spain, France, Greece and Italy.
Sunbathers relaxing on a beach in Greece. British holidaymakers could soon be jetting to sunny European beaches as Brussels is set to approve vaccine passports later on Wednesday.
Germany is planning to open up its vaccine drive to everyone over the age of 18 in the coming weeks as it attempts to catch up with the UK, which has vaccinated the fastest in Europe
With a new traffic light system brought in on Monday to allow some foreign holidays to resume again after months of coronavirus lockdown, Boris Johnson stressed countries on the amber list were ‘not somewhere where you should be going on holiday’.
Mr Johnson’s official spokesman, during a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, said holidays and leisure travel should still be restricted to the limited number of countries deemed safe by ministers, such as Portugal, which is the only major viable tourist destination 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 Mr Johnson’s comments on the matter, told Times Radio 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’.
And despite the presence of a green list comprising 12 countries and territories, health minister Lord Bethell told peers he considered all foreign travel to be ‘dangerous’ and urged Britons to holiday at home this summer.
Education minister Gillian Keegan told Sky News: ‘As with many of these things we have had throughout the pandemic, this has been about relying on the great British public to be sensible and follow the guidance we have put in place and taking their own decisions really.
‘But, no, we wouldn’t advise going on holiday to the amber list countries.’
Millions are taking a punt and have booked holidays to Amber List nations, especially in Europe, despite warnings not to fly out
It is not the first time that the variant has been detected in Germany, but it does come amid increased fears about the virus after it began spreading rapidly in the UK (pictured, areas where the variant is now the dominant strain)
Mr Johnson could face pressure to clarify the situation when he takes Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
An aviation industry chief said Lord Bethell’s comments would cause ‘confusion’ for families with trips booked.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: ‘These comments are simply not correct and will cause real anger amongst the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on international travel, and confusion amongst families who have booked travel under the Government’s own restart policy.’
The criticism came amid reports thousands of people had headed for destinations such as France, Greece, Spain and the United States – none of which are on the green list – with more than 150 flights reported to have departed on Monday when travel rules were relaxed in Britain as part of a further phase of lockdown easing.
Non-essential travel from Northern Ireland to the Common Travel Area – which consists of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man – will be allowed from May 24.