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Calls for scrapping of ‘ambiguous’ amber list travel restrictions

The authorities’s “amber list” standing governing travel restrictions to Britons’ favorite vacation locations ought to be abolished, a number one business organisation has demanded.

The amber list – which covers Spain, Greece, Italy and the USA, to be joined on Sunday by France, the UAE and India – is creating confusion at a time when companies want “confidence and clarity” in an effort to get better from the pandemic, stated the British Chambers of Commerce.

The name got here as Boris Johnson got here underneath rising strain for additional simplification of the visitors mild scheme, with calls from trade and Conservative MPs for cheaper testing necessities on travellers returning to the UK.

The CBI stated that the addition of seven nations to the quarantine-free inexperienced list and the elimination of France’s “amber-plus” standing from 8 August supplied “some relief” for hard-pressed travel firms.

But the organisation’s chief coverage director Matthew Fell warned that the sector faces “a long road to full recovery” and known as for an pressing transfer to a method which permits a extra complete resumption of travel in a manner which is “safe, simple and certain”.

BCC director of coverage James Martin stated that adjustments to the visitors mild system introduced by transport secretary Grant Shapps late on Wednesday have been “welcome news” for travel companies.

But he stated that it’s time for the amber class to be ditched in favour of a easy red-or-green system underneath which UK nationals may clearly see the nations they’ll safely go to and people to which travel isn’t advisable.

Under present guidelines, travellers from inexperienced list nations – which embody Iceland, Malta and Gibraltar, to be joined on Sunday by Germany and Norway – should take a lateral stream take a look at earlier than returning and a PCR take a look at inside two days of arrival, whether or not or not they’ve been vaccinated.

But necessities for amber nations are totally different relying on vaccine standing. A completely inoculated particular person who obtained their second jab no less than 14 days earlier than arrival can observe the identical guidelines as these from the inexperienced list, however the unvaccinated should self-isolate at residence for 10 days and take a second PCR take a look at after eight.

The guidelines for the purple list, involving a compulsory 10-day quarantine in an airport resort, are way more onerous, reflecting the upper stage of concern linked to visits from nations the place infections are rife and Covid-19 variants of concern widespread.

Mr Martin stated: “Now is the time for the government to fundamentally simplify the traffic light system for international travel.

“Businesses need the confidence and clarity provided by a system which places countries in either green or red categories, removing the ambiguity of the amber designation, which now relies on very different rules for the vaccinated and non-vaccinated.

“The government should also step-up efforts to drive down the cost of tests required by the system; limited progress has been made in this area so far and the cost remains a significant barrier to both business and leisure travellers.”

Mr Fell stated: “Today’s green list extension will offer some relief to the international travel sector, which has suffered more than most during the pandemic and still faces a long road to full recovery. Restoring freedom of travel to these countries will enable firms to salvage a limited summer season.

“However, defining a strategy for a more comprehensive resumption of travel that is safe, simple and certain remains an urgent priority.

“Vaccine rollout has created an opportunity for the UK to move beyond Covid travel restrictions to new travel norms which restore passenger confidence and protect jobs and skills. This will be vital to ensure the UK’s travel industry remains robust to fulfil its unique role in the country’s economic recovery.”

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