There is no risk-free way of travelling overseas during the coronavirus pandemic, Downing Street has warned.
In a statement, Number 10 said the government would not shirk difficult decisions on destinations owing to the severity of their individual Covid-19 epidemics.
It comes after chancellor Rishi Sunak last week said people needed to bear in mind the risk of disruption to their travel plans.
He added the government would not hesitate to take action, such as revoking a destination’s quarantine-free travel corridor, if there was epidemiological evidence to support curbing travel to a specific country.
Sunak’s comments were reiterated by prime minister Boris Johnson during a visit to an east London school on Sunday (9 August).
Johnson’s official spokesperson told The Telegraph: "We have been updating the [travel] exemptions list on a weekly basis in order to make sure it reflects the changes in the international health picture.
"Unfortunately, during this pandemic, there isn’t a risk-free way of travelling overseas. The population’s made a huge effort to get the disease down to the levels that we’re seeing in the UK, and if we feel we need to act in relation to the travel exemptions list, then we’ll do so."
The paper further reports the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre will meet on Tuesday (11 August) to discuss the latest coronavirus infection data, with several countries on the UK’s safe list potentially facing being struck off owing to fresh spikes in cases.
A decision is expected on Thursday (13 August), with France reportedly at greatest risk of being removed. It is, however, hoped that Portugal – conspicuous by its absence – could be added.
Portugal has been lauded for its response to the coronavirus crisis, and has taken a range of measures to protect public health and reinforce confidence in its tourism industry.
Serbia was first to be removed from the UK’s travel corridor list, followed – most notably – by Spain. The Bahamas, Belgium and Andorra have all since been removed, while Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added.