Travel: Simon Calder says new quarantine rules ‘ludicrous’
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The amber plus list has served as a bad sign for countries on the amber and green list, bringing the potential for quarantine to be reinstated regardless of a traveller’s vaccination status. However, as travel expert Simon Calder has pointed out, the new list could provide hope for nations currently on the red list.
Both Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, home to popular holiday hotspot Dubai, currently hold red list status.
This means that passengers returning to the UK from these nations may only do so if they are a British or Irish national, or have residence rights in the UK.
Arrivals then face 10 days of mandatory quarantine in a Government managed hotel.
This includes two COVID-19 tests during the stay and must be pre-booked at the cost of the traveller.
However, Mr Calder explained on his Travel Radio show, the amber plus list could provide an opportunity for these harsh restrictions to be removed for certain destinations.
“I like to think that actually, amber plus will be the kind of halfway house for countries such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa, Kenya, India, and Egypt,” he said.
“Coming back from red list status, the Government will be able to plonk them on amber plus list so it’s not suddenly going from you have to go into hotel quarantine to you’ve been jabbed twice so that’s fine just step off the plane and do what you like.
“It will be a useful halfway house.”
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According to co-host Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, the traffic light list is causing some disagreement within Government.
“There is a big split in cabinet still over which countries should and should not be on amber plus. It has not gone away,” he said.
The amber plus list was suddenly created just days before quarantine restriction relaxed for double-jabbed Britons visiting amber list countries.
Late on Friday, July 16, the Government announced the creation of the new list which, at the time of writing, only houses France.
The list means that travellers who return from an amber list plus country must self-isolate at home, and are subject to three Covid tests.
They must take one pre-departure test, and then two PCR tests on days two and eight of their quarantine.
At the time, the Government cited concerns over the Beta Variant within France.
However, it is not clear what other factors could push a country to be moved to the amber plus list.
Experts suggest the number of cases of Covid, percentage of the population vaccinated and other variants could also play a role.
Despite the traffic light system, however, from August 2 quarantine rules are set to be overhauled for those who are fully vaccinated.
Arrivals from the European Union (EU) and the US will be permitted to enter the UK without self-isolating if they can prove they have received two doses of an EMA or FDA approved vaccine.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has suggested this could pave the way for future “reciprocal” travel agreements to be developed.
“I think the key thing but the EU countries and the US, they’re countries that we have high trust in the way they define double vaccination,” he told Sky News.
“Those are the kinds of countries we want to pursue in the future. High trust countries.”
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