With the first update of the government’s green list understood to be imminent, there is speculation the only truly viable destination on the list, Portugal, could be removed from an already slim list of just 12 countries and territories.
Prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday (2 June) insisted the government would remove countries from the green list, if necessary, with the first update of the traffic light system is due to be unveiled on Thursday (3 June).
A further blow for international travel could be the emergence of another new strain of Covid-19, originating in Nepal, which has apparently now reached Europe.
These are the key national press headlines concerning travel on Thursday 3 June.
Green list could be culled, warns PM
Boris Johnson has warned the UK government “will not hesitate” to remove countries from the green list amid fears Portugal could be axed from the quarantine-free travel list in the first update of the traffic lights system. Portugal could lose its green list status due to rising Covid infections and "variants of concern”. (Daily Telegraph)
‘Nepal variant’ threat to holidays
A new variant of the coronavirus, thought to have originated in Nepal, could be another threat to international travel this summer. This latest strain of the virus has apparently already arrived in Europe, with scientists fearing it could be resistant to current Covid vaccines. (Daily Mail)
Summer holiday warning
Additions to the green list are set to be “limited” because of ongoing doubt about whether the final stage of unlocking in England can go ahead as planned on 21 June. Holidaymakers booking overseas holidays could also be “caught out” by sudden changes in a country’s status. (The i)
Testing system could be ‘overwhelmed’ if green list is expanded
The UK’s testing system may not be able to cope if more countries are added to the government’s green list this summer. There are warnings that test providers could struggle to get Covid test results back to holidaymakers in time for their trips as more popular destinations are classified as green. (Sky News)
Britain struggling to convince US to lift travel ban
UK ministers are “struggling” to convince US officials to lift the current travel ban on non-Americans entering the US from transatlantic flights. The UK government hopes the US travel ban could be lifted early next month. Boris Johnson is expected to press US president Joe Biden on the issue at the G7 summit in Cornwall next week. (Financial Times)
Organisers insist Olympics will go ahead
Tokyo Olympics organisers have again vowed that the games will go ahead later this summer, despite the Japanese city currently being in a “state of emergency” due to high Covid levels and growing opposition to holding the delayed games from within Japan. (The Guardian)
Half of workers will only go into office three days a week
More than half of UK employees want to go into the office for just three days per week when Covid lockdown restrictions are finally removed, according to a poll. But only 17% of staff want to work entirely from home post-pandemic. (The Sun)