A diplomatic row has broken out between French and UK politicians over the country’s "amber plus" traffic light status, but Spain looks set to be spared the same fate.
While politicians in France have hit out at foreign secretary Dominic Raab’s comments on Thursday (29 July), new data reportedly shows the beta variant has disappeared from some of Spain’s top destinations leading to hopes that visitors will not face tougher quarantine restrictions upon their return to the UK.
The government, meanwhile, is reported to be considering the introduction of yet another traffic light category – an amber watchlist – when the regime is reviewed next week.
Here are all the key headlines concerning travel in Friday’s national press (30 July).
Travel rules descend into French farce
The UK is facing a diplomatic blacklash from France over its amber plus status after foreign secretary Dominic Rabb said the decision had been made because of cases of the beta variant on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion. French politicians branded the UK’s 10-day quarantine for arrivals from France as discriminatory. (The Times)
Spain set to escape quarantine as beta cases disappear
Key Spanish destinations, including the Balearics and large parts of southern Spain, are currently seeing no cases of the beta variant of the coronavirus. This has raised hopes that the country will not be moved to the amber plus list at next week’s review of the traffic light system. (The Telegraph)
EU warns against visiting some Greek islands
A rise in Covid infection levels in a cluster of popular Greek destinations, including Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes, has led the EU to advise against non-essential travel to these islands. The warning from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control affects 13 islands in the south Aegean. (Sky News)
Red alert for amber travel list
The government is considering a new “amber watchlist” category which would allow countries to be switched to the red list at short notice with travellers having to quarantine in government-arranged hotels. Plans for the new category, which would replace the current amber plus status, could be announced next week and are expected to meet fierce opposition from the travel industry. (The i)
EU blocks opening up to UK tourists
The EU is poised to start a “travel war” with the UK due to its frustration over the ongoing dispute on post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland. Member states are reported to have delayed talks to discuss allowing fully vaccinated British visitors to travel to the EU without any Covid restrictions. (The Daily Express)
One in seven shops now vacant across the UK
The number of empty shops on Britain’s high streets has risen to its highest level since at least 2015 as the Covid crisis has heaped more pressure on retail. The sector is calling for a change in the business rates regime in response to changes in consumer behaviour and habits. (The Guardian)