Covid travel: France no longer amber-plus as green list expands

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Fully-vaccinated passengers returning to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from France will no longer need to quarantine after Sunday.

Under widespread changes to the traffic light system for travel, France is being moved from amber-plus to amber.

It was added to the list last month amid concerns about the Covid Beta variant, which scientists believe may be more resistant to vaccines.

Germany, Austria and Norway are among seven nations added to the green list.

Despite prior speculation, Spain will remain on the amber list, enabling travellers who are fully vaccinated to continue to enjoy a quarantine-free return.

However, the Department for Transport has now said that “arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible” instead of the cheaper lateral flow tests.

But in a series of tweets Conservative MP Huw Merriman, chairman of the Commons Transport Select Committee, criticised “expensive” PCR tests for travel as an “unnecessary rip-off” and a “barrier to affordable travel”.

Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been moved from the red list to the amber list. But Mexico is among four countries now considered to be among the highest risk destinations going on to the red list.

The changes from 04:00 BST on 8 August raise the total number of countries or territories on the green list – where all travellers can return from without having to quarantine – from 29 to 36.

But other countries have their own rules about allowing visitors – so being on the UK’s green list does not guarantee travellers can visit there.

There are also no changes to the rules requiring travellers to take tests before and after their return.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we’ve made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said while the changes moved more countries to the green list, additions to the red list showed there was still a need for caution to “help protect the success of our vaccine rollout”.

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Agencies

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