Holidays: Michael O'Leary slams UK travel restrictions

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Later today Grant Shapps will unveil any changes to the UK’s travel traffic light system. Britons, many of whom have not travelled abroad since the start of the pandemic last March, are desperately hoping more places are added to the green, quarantine free, list.

Malta, Madeira and the Balearic Islands have all been tipped to be given the go-ahead in what would be a major boost for the UK’s beleaguered aviation and tourism sectors.

Meanwhile, there is concern Israel, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, could be moved onto the amber list due to a surge in cases of the Delta variant.

Any changes announced today will come into effect from 4am next Wednesday.

Currently there are just 11 green destinations, effectively shutting down the travel industry despite the easing of lockdown restrictions in England in recent months.

At the last review, no new locations were added to the green list with the only major change being the introduction of quarantine for those returning from Portugal.

Ministers are also pouring over the data to determine whether quarantine for those returning from amber list countries cold be scrapped from July 19 for those who have been double jabbed.

Currently, Brits returning from areas on the amber list must isolate for 10 days and are required to have a minimum of three PCR tests: one before travelling, and then two more while in isolation.

If approved, new plans would see those returning undertake daily lateral flow testing to allow them to go about their lives.

The move would open up significant tourism destinations around the world for travel, potentially saving summer holiday plans for thousands of British families.

So far more than 60 percent of UK adults have received two Covid jabs, with No10 targeting giving a top-up dose to two thirds of adults by July 19.

Children, who currently cannot get Covid jabs, would be exempt from the new rules under the plans.

Hinting such changes to the quarantine system could be introduced, Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News this morning: “Well, personally I want us to get back to a position where we can support those who want to travel to do so, nobody likes the draconian restrictions we’ve had to put in place over this last year.”

Meanwhile, Mr Shapps said: “Of course I very much hope the world could open up.

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“We’ve got to follow the data, and that’s what we’ll be doing in the meetings over the next few days.”

However, as the Government looks to open up as many destinations as possible for Brits, there are concerns the EU could quickly ban entry from the UK.

Yesterday Germany’s Angela Merkel admitted she is pushing for a bloc-wide ban on Brits.

She has already imposed quarantine on those arriving in Germany from the UK and wants other member states to follow suit.

She said: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain you have to go into quarantine and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see.”

The UK’s infection rate is far higher than on the continent.

While cases per million in the UK have risen to 150, and are continuing to go up, in Germany they have dropped to around 10 and in France to about 30.

Regardless on any decision made by the Government on quarantine for returning home from the EU, a bloc-wide isolation requirement for Brits would mean holidays would still be off the cards for many.

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