Italy and France among 22 countries that could move to green list, says expert

‘There seems to be nothing in the data that explains why they are languishing on the amber list,’ says Robert Boyle

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 06 July 2021 10:51
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Some 22 countries meet the government’s threshold for moving from the amber to the green list for travel, an expert has said.

Among them are tourism favourites France and Italy, alongside potential European holiday destinations Austria, Norway, Denmark and Czech Republic.

Robert Boyle, aviation consultant and former chief strategist for British Airways, claimed to have compiled the list based on the data the UK government is supposedly using to determine destinations’ colour classifications in its traffic light system for international travel.

He identified 22 countries that he feels meet the criteria for being upgraded from amber to green; each has an infection rate lower than 20 cases per 100,000 people, and a positive Covid testing rate of less than 1.5 per cent.

“There seems to be nothing in the data the government says it is using that explains why they are languishing on the amber list at this point,” he told The Telegraph of these destinations.

“I’m sure the answer is politics somehow, but there doesn’t even seem to be any obvious political logic for why two apparently similar countries get classified differently.”

At the last traffic light review on 24 June, taking effect from 30 June, 16 countries or regions were moved from amber to the green and green watchlists. The latter is reserved for places that are at risk of turning amber.

Spain’s Balearic Islands, Malta and Madeira all went green, but most of Europe remained amber, requiring returning travellers to self-isolate for 10 days and take two PCR tests on entry to the UK.

The next review is expected on 15 July, with changes coming into effect around a week later.

However, despite Mr Boyle’s assessment, various experts have predicted that the update will see little movement to the green list.

The widespread opening up of quarantine-free travel from Europe isn’t expected “before August”, foreign tourism chiefs were reportedly told last month. UK ambassadors were said to have warned that holiday favourites such as Spain and Turkey were unlikely to go green until later in the summer.

Travel consultant Paul Charles tweeted: “Ministers are still briefing August for opening up further. It is clear they want 70 per cent double-jab immunity.”

However, the government has also confirmed that plans are afoot to scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers entering the UK from amber list countries.

At a coronavirus briefing on 5 July, Boris Johnson said: “We will maintain our tough border controls including the red list, and recognising the protection afforded by two doses of vaccine, we will work with the travel industry towards removing the need for fully vaccinated arrivals to isolate on return from an amber country.”

22 countries that could go green

  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Moldova
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam

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