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People should “apply common sense” over whether or not they choose to fly to travel overseas, the UK transport secretary has said.
Grant Shapps denied the government’s traffic light system for overseas travel was giving the public mixed messages by asking people not to fly to countries other than those on the green list but not banning such travel.
Shapps said people should only go to countries on the “amber list” in exceptional circumstances, amid concern over the spread of the coronavirus variant first detected in India, but added that there was a move away from dictating people’s movements, asking them instead to exercise “common sense”.
He told Sky News: “We’ve moved away from a situation where everything is ‘it’s banned it’s illegal’, I know we’ve got very used to this in the last year … We’re moving away from that and asking people to apply a bit of common sense.”
Asked on BBC Breakfast whether it was responsible to go on holiday to an amber list country, Shapps said: “The guidance is not to. We’ve said you should only go to amber countries in exceptional circumstances.”
He said the government wanted to expand the current green list of countries – currently 12 – but any decision would depend on data on the levels of virus and vaccinations in countries.
“We are reviewing this all the time, every three weeks, the next review is in the first week of June and we’ll have to see what happens,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Our message is very straightforward, which is ‘just a little bit of patience, everyone’. I know it’s been an incredibly tough year and there are extreme circumstance where people will feel that it is the right thing to do – perhaps because they have a sick family member and some extreme situations where they’ll travel in the orange category.
“But by and large we are just asking people to be a little bit patient as other countries catch up with our world-leading vaccination programme and then people will be able to, I hope, travel. We are returning to a world which looks more normal, I hope.”
He urged people to be patient and wait for the global coronavirus situation to improve if they wanted to go on holiday to countries currently on the amber list.
Under the new coronavirus rules for travel that came into force on Monday, people can holiday in a dozen green list destinations including Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel. People who return to England from green list countries have to take Covid tests before travelling and within two days of return, but do not need to quarantine.
More than 40 places are on the red list, connected to the prevalence of Covid variants. Only British or Irish nationals are allowed back into the country from these destinations, and they are obliged to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.
All other countries, including the bulk of popular holiday destinations for English travellers, are on the amber list. Travellers must take tests before they arrive in England and twice on return, and quarantine at home for 10 days.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Use common sense on foreign travel guidance, says Grant Shapps | Coronavirus