Travel chaos: What is amber plus? What are new travel guidelines?

TikTok user emotional over ‘ruined’ holiday

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Brits wanting to jet away abroad and those already there are facing upheaval following the introduction of a new ‘amber plus’ tier in the Government’s travel traffic light system. The rules had seemed to relax slightly for those who had received a double jab – as they no longer need to isolate after returning from an amber country – but amber plus changes this.

Thousands of Brits have headed abroad in recent weeks following a shift in travel guidance – however, they could face a rush to head home to avoid isolating.

The Government’s travel guidelines are under constant review based on the levels of cases, the spread of variants, vaccination status and hospitalisations in each country.

Every three weeks the Government reviews the traffic light system and shifts countries up or down tiers based on the available data.

The next review is due to take place on either Wednesday, August 4, or Thursday, August 5.

Independent of the travel review, countries can be moved up or down tiers at a moment’s notice if cases begin to spike.

Now the Government has introduced an ‘amber plus’ list – confusing travellers yet further.

And France was the first country to be added to this list, due to the rising Beta variant cases in the country.

But what exactly is the amber plus list?

Amber plus rules

Earlier this month it was announced travellers who were double vaccinated would not have to isolate after returning from an amber listed country.

This opened up key destinations like Greece, Spain and France to twice jabbed Brits – however, the amber plus list changes this.

Amber plus countries mean everyone returning to the UK needs to quarantine for up to 10 days.

Travellers then also take a PCR test on day two after arriving back in the UK, and another on day eight.

For those with two vaccinations, an optional PCR test taken on day five could release them from quarantine if negative.

However, the day eight test must still be taken.

Anyone who is not fully jabbed must stick to the amber country rules and quarantine for 10 days.

Which countries could be added to amber plus?

France has already been added to the amber plus list, due to the rising levels of Beta variant.

Now there are worries Greece and Spain could join France.

In Greece, cases are rising on average by 2,659 each day with a rate of 173 infections per 100,000 people reported last seven days.

Spain has seen a staggering increase with 25,743 new infections reported on average each day.

A rate of 382 infections per 100,000 people have been reported over the last seven days.

Comparatively, France – now on the amber plus list – has seen on average 15,546 new infections reported each day.

This is a rate of 162 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, with the Beta variant of concern.

Spain or Greece joining the amber plus list has not been confirmed by the Government, however, countries can shift at a moment’s notice.

If Greece and Spain are added to the amber plus list, it could see millions of Brits losing out on holidays.

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said: “Not only have they failed to protect our borders, allowing Covid cases to rocket – they also refuse to be straight with the public and give them the information they need to book travel with confidence, with clear information on the direction of travel of infections in each country.

“Families who have booked holidays in good faith now risk losing out – 10-day quarantine is simply not an option for many people who are already struggling financially thanks to the pandemic.”

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