Health secretary Matt Hancock had said there will be no significant additions to the green list in the "medium term" in a bid to protect domestic freedoms "at all costs".
According to The Telegraph, Hancock has signalled any significant expansion of the government’s quarantine-free green list has been put on hold until later in the summer because of the risk posed by new variants of Covid-19.
His comments came as thousands of tourists scrambled to return to the UK before 4am on Tuesday morning (8 June) when Portugal was officially placed on the UK government’s amber list.
"Restoring international travel in the medium term is an important goal – [but] it is going to be challenging because of the risk of new variants," Hancock told MPs during a government briefing, The Telegraph reports.
"A variant that undermines the vaccine effort would undermine the return to domestic freedoms.
"It is going to be challenging, it’s going to be hard because of the risk of new variants and new variants popping up in places like Portugal, which has an otherwise relatively low case rate."