France is likely to shed its special “amber plus” status and return to the the UK government’s amber list when the traffic light system for international travel is updated later this week, an expert has said.
Stalling Covid-19 case numbers and a lower infection rate should make it possible to remove France from the amber plus category, where it was placed last month, according to data analyst Tim White.
Were that to happen, fully vaccinated British adults who have had their second dose at least 14 days prior and those aged under 18 will no longer have to quarantine when returning from France, instead completing a pre-departure lateral flow test, plus the gold standard day two PCR test upon entry to the UK.
“Good news from France this evening,” White tweeted.
“Not only am I fairly sure it will return to plain amber category, but this evening Covid-19 cases are down.
“5,184 additional infections, just 113 lower than last Monday, but more significantly, the infection rate (4 per cent) has started to fall.”
The amber plus category could be scrapped altogether at Thursday’s review of the travel rules.
Government sources confirmed last night that there will be no “amber watchlist” - a concept that was floated this week before being swiftly scrapped following backlash from Conservative ministers and the travel industry - and now experts are saying that the entire system is expected to be simplified.
“It sounds like they’re going to revert back to the red, amber, green original traffic list,” Paul Charles, founder of the PC Agency, a travel consultancy, told Talk Radio this morning.
Such a move would increase passenger confidence but doesn’t go far enough, Charles said. “What consumers really need to hear is that there will be plenty more notice between any move of a country between one category to another, that is what is still putting people off.”
France was given its “amber plus” status last month in response to concerns about the Beta virus variant.
Cases of the variant were increasing at a worrying rate in Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean - 5,800 miles from the mainland.
The move was met with dismay by fully vaccinated Brits already in France and those due to travel, who had booked their trips on the understanding that they would not have to quarantine on their return to the UK, as per the restrictions for amber list countries.
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