No countries will be added to the UK government’s green list on Thursday (3 June), it has been widely reported by the national press, while Portugal is expected to be moved from the green list to the amber list.
According to the BBC, the list of 12 countries and territories – from which arrivals into the UK don’t have to self-isolate for 10 days – will won’t be expanded at its first three-weekly review on Thursday.
The list currently features Portugal, Gibraltar, Iceland and Israel, although Portugal is the only truly recognisable and viable destination at this time.
However, both the BBC and Sky News report Portugal will be moved from the green list to the amber list.
The BBC reports it is possible some countries or territories could be removed from the green list on Thursday, and that it is more likely more countries will be added to the red list.
A full government announcement is expected later in Thursday. TTG has approached the Department for Transport for confirmation and further details.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC: "We’ve got to protect the progress that we’ve made here at home while of course allowing for travel when it’s safe to do so. We’ve got to follow the data."
Virginia Messina, senior vice president at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said the government had “once again cold-shouldered” the travel industry if it failed to add to the “already slim” green list.
“There are so many countries with similar vaccination levels and low infection rates as the UK to which travel should be restored immediately, such as the US and Malta,” she said.
“If Portugal has been dropped into the amber list, it will crush the confidence to travel, depress forward bookings and deter holidaymakers. This will cause further stress to travel and tourism businesses already reeling from the green list announced just a few weeks ago.
“WTTC believes the time is now right for the UK to open the doors to safe travel and allow all those who are fully vaccinated or can show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, to travel freely.”
The UK’s devolved administration are free to set their own rules on travel, such as their own tailored green, amber and red lists, although Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all opted in the first instance to adopt the green list set out by the UK government that applies to England.
The reports will come as a blow to travel, which had been hoping several destinations such as Malta, the Canary Islands and several Caribbean countries would be added.
The government has said it will review the list every three weeks; any changes announced later today are therefore expected to take effect from Monday 7 June, three weeks after the first iteration of the green list came into effect on 17 May.
It would mean the next review would be on or before 28 June, which the government has earmarked for the first formal review of the traffic light system.