Travel: Expert says UK needs a ‘wide green list’

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Holidaymakers may have had their hopes sparked once again as the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) made the decision to amend its travel advisory for some of Greece and Spain’s archipelagos. The warning against all “non-essential” travel to a selection of Greek islands, as well as the Canary Islands, has been removed.

Greek islands Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes and Zante along with the Canary Islands in Spain were all included in the lifting of the travel advisory.

At the time of writing, the FCDO’s travel advice page for Greece states: “The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to Greece based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

“The FCDO is not advising against travel to the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete.”

Meanwhile, for Spain, the travel authority states: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

This means popular destinations in Spain such as Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria are currently not advised “against”.

However, “non-essential” travel to the mainland and Balearic Islands is still advised “against”.

Until May 17, international travel for leisure purposes remains illegal.

Despite the FCDO’s current travel advice, the Government has not yet given any clear indication as to which countries will be placed on the “green” list from May 17.

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Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, has said the latest FCDO changes are “encouraging”.

Speaking on BBC News on Tuesday morning he said: “This morning the Foreign Office, perhaps accidentally, has updated its own website pages to also add the likes of Kos, Rhodes, Canary Islands, Zakinthos, Corfu and Crete among others to its list of places now acceptable to travel to and that is very encouraging.

“That suggests the list could be much wider.”

It is also apparent the Government will consider allowing Britons to travel to individual islands for leisure purposes.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps previously said he is advocating for an “islands approach”.

The transport secretary told an online ConservativeHome event: “I want to do that again. I don’t want to go backwards, I want to go forwards.”

This means that individual islands could be given “green” status based on their COVID-19 figures, even if the mainland is categorised as “amber”.

Travellers returning to the UK from countries given “green list” status will not be required to self-isolate upon their return, though they will be subject to pre-and post-departure COVID-19 tests.

Mr Shapps added: “European travel this summer depends on their vaccine regime.”

Currently, the European Union is in talks over how it will resume travel with the aid of a digital travel “pass”.

This is likely to include information regarding whether or not a passenger has been vaccinated, as well as any history of COVID-19 testing or antibodies.

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