Six countries added to hotel quarantine ‘red list’

·30 min read
The Government has moved the Dominican Republic from the amber list to the red list. - Getty 
The Government has moved the Dominican Republic from the amber list to the red list. - Getty

The Government has moved six countries including Tunisia and the Dominican Republic from the amber list to the red list.

This means that any British residents in those countries will need to come home before 4am on Wednesday, June 30 to avoid a costly hotel quarantine. Uganda, Eritrea, Haiti and Mongolia have also been added to the red list, joining the 50 countries previously on the list such as Turkey, the UAE, Qatar and South Africa.

In more positive news in today’s traffic light update, Malta has been added to the green list. This means arrivals from Malta no longer need to quarantine on return home. A number of destinations including Madeira and the Balearic Islands have also been upgraded to a ‘green watchlist’, meaning that they are categorised as ‘green’ but at risk of going back to amber at short notice.

Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, British Antarctica, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, the Pitcairn Islands and Turks and Caicos are also now on the green watchlist. As is Israel, which was previously ‘full green’.

Earlier today, the Prime Minister confirmed that double-vaccinated arrivals will be able to return to the UK without quarantine. If this goes ahead, it means travel would be unlocked to some of the UK’s favourite destinations including Portugal, Spain and Greece.

Scroll down for updates.

07:29 PM

What happened today?

It was a bumper day of travel news. Here's a recap of the main stories.

  • Malta and Balearics get green light, but new 'watchlist' leaves most holidays in limbo

  • Six countries added to hotel quarantine ‘red list’

  • Portugal tightens Covid rules in holiday hotspots

  • EE to reinstate roaming charges now that UK has left EU

  • Merkel and Macron to press EU on coordinated quarantine for British tourists

Join us tomorrow for more of the latest travel news.

07:18 PM

Which countries are on the green list and when can you travel to them?

Today the Government has added 14 countries to the “green list,” however 13 of these sit on a “watchlist,” which means they are “most at risk” of being downgraded to “amber” at short notice, leaving holidays in limbo.

Malta is the only destination to avoid the “watchlis,” - Getty 
Malta is the only destination to avoid the “watchlis,” - Getty

Malta is the only destination to avoid the “watchlist,” and while Madeira and the Balearic Islands are now green, their position remains in jeopardy.

Find out everything you need to know about the new green list here.

07:10 PM

Balearic Islands celebrate 'green watchlist’ addition

Susana Mora, President of Menorca, says:

“This is long-awaited and very positive news which is extremely important to us in order to boost the summer season. Menorca is ready to welcome back British tourists, with the highest safety standards. Thanks to a collective effort, we can proudly say that we are today one of the safest destinations in Spain and Europe. The private sector has worked intensively to live up to the expectations of travellers who choose Menorca for their first holiday after lockdown and looking to enjoy all the experiences of disconnection, relaxation, nature, sun and beach, active tourism, gastronomy and culture that our island offers them”.

Pedro Homar, Manager of Palma Tourist Board, comments:

“We are delighted to see Mallorca, and the rest of the Balearic Islands, finally added to the British government’s ‘green watchlist’ and we are looking forward to British visitors being able to visit us again without having to quarantine on their return to the UK. The UK is one of our main tourism markets and this is a very welcome boost for our tourism sector.

The last year has been very challenging with many of our hoteliers and tourism businesses relying on UK visitors. These businesses have invested heavily in safety protocols to enable visitors to have a worry free holiday. In Palma, we have continued to work behind the scenes to ready ourselves for the summer season and we certainly feel a sense of relief with today’s news.

There’s no better time for British visitors to visit Palma and Mallorca for a relaxing break or to enjoy many of our cultural attractions. The sun is shining, we have extremely sophisticated tourism and health infrastructure and we are reading and waiting with open arms.”

07:06 PM

Reaction to the Government's travel announcement

Responses are flooding in to the Government's 'traffic light' update.

British Airways' Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle said:

While we welcome the additions to the green list, it’s essential we get travel back up and running as soon as possible. We cannot afford another missed summer. There are jobs at stake, Britons separated from family members and we cannot afford to allow the success of our vaccine programme to be wasted.

The plans to allow vaccinated travellers to move freely this summer are critical and we would urge Government to work urgently with the aviation industry to get this in place.

We would also like to understand whether this means our customers will benefit from reduced or eradicated costly testing procedures. A change in the official FCDO advice to allow people to travel to amber list countries will be critical to the success of this plan.

07:02 PM

What the 'green watchlist' means for summer holidays – and your other travel questions answered

Is the latest announcement from the Transport Secretary a light at the end of the Channel Tunnel, or another false dawn for travellers? Nick Trend tackles the key travel questions.

Although there was good news, more ambivalent is the concept of the “green watchlist” of countries at risk of reverting back to amber which was also part of Thursday’s announcement. The idea of a watchlist was promised some weeks ago as a way – we presumed – of giving people some warning about the possibility of a country changing its status in a negative way.

More generally, where does this all leave the millions of people who have holidays booked or are hoping to go away this summer? What is absolutely clear amid all this uncertainty is that you should only travel (or book) any green, green 'watchlist' or amber destination if you are comfortable with the significant risk that the traffic lights may suddenly change and you may have to self-isolate for up to 10 days on your return. And remember that some amber destinations may turn red (it has just happened to Tunisia) which involves an expensive 10 days in a quarantine hotel.

Read the full story here.

06:45 PM

Grant Shapps announces traffic light updates on Twitter

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06:37 PM

Seven countries added to Northern Ireland's red list

More destinations have also been added to the country's red list. Passengers arriving from these countries after 4am on June 30 must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

The seven additions:

  • Dominican Republic

  • Eritrea

  • Haiti

  • Kuwait

  • Mongolia

  • Tunisia

  • Uganda

06:22 PM

Northern Ireland adds 16 destinations to green list

A host of popular holiday destinations have been added to Northern Ireland's travel green list. The new European entries are the Balearic Islands, Madeira and Malta.

England's traffic light updates have yet to be announced.

The full list of additions:

  • Anguilla

  • Antigua and Barbuda

  • Balearic Islands

  • Barbados

  • Bermuda

  • British Antartic Territory

  • British Indian Ocean Territory

  • British Virgin Islands

  • Cayman Islands

  • Dominica

  • Grenada

  • Maderia

  • Malta

  • Montserrat

  • Pitcairn Islands

  • Turks and Caicos Islands

06:12 PM

Portugal tightens Covid rules in holiday hotspots

Stricter Covid-19 rules will be imposed across the Lisbon region and Algarve holiday hotspots to control a rise in infections.

"We are in a fight against time between the progression of the disease and the process of vaccination," Cabinet Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a news conference.

Lisbon
Lisbon

More than half of cases in Lisbon are of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant, first identified in India.

From 3pm on Friday until 6am on Monday, people must present a negative coronavirus test or a vaccination certificate to leave or enter the Lisbon region. The tests must be PCR or antigen tests. Antigen tests are available for free in Lisbon pharmacies.

Restaurants, cafes and non-food shops in the Lisbon municipality must close at 3.30pm. over the weekend. Supermarkets and grocery stores must close at 7pm. These rules will also be in force in two other municipalities, including Albufeira in southern Algarve.

The measures are reviewed on a weekly basis but are likely to remain in place until the situation improves.

05:52 PM

The bumper booking guide to Malta: Where to stay and what to do

Malta's 300 days a year of sun make it a good bet for a holiday - Getty 
Malta's 300 days a year of sun make it a good bet for a holiday - Getty

Hopes are high that Malta could be added to the green list tonight. This tiny Mediterranean archipelago really punches above its weight when it comes to vacation virtues, and so could be just the ticket for sun-starved holidaymakers.

From Europe’s most dazzling baroque interior to the oldest stone architecture anywhere in the world, it has world-class historic sights to add to its 300 days a year of sun, glistening azure waters and delicious Mediterranean food. Sun, sea, sights, and stylish accommodation and sustenance, make a pretty good mix for a holiday.

Read the full guide.

05:37 PM

What rules are amber-list arrivals subject to?

Any travellers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland from amber countries are required to self-isolate at home for 10 days (potentially reduced with a paid-for 'Test to release' on day five for those returning to England) and to take PCR tests on (or before) day two and on day eight of isolation, as well as taking a test before returning (they will need to provide proof of a negative result, which can be a printed document or an email or text shown on your phone) and completing a passenger locator form.

05:26 PM

What restrictions do arrivals from countries on the red list face?

While we wait for the update, a reminder of the red-list restrictions.

Britons returning to England from red-listed destinations face a 10-day stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of up to £1,750, including Covid tests on day two and eight of their quarantine. Any non-Britons who have been in a red list country within the past 10 days will simply be denied entry to the country.

Since Feb 15, arrivals who try to cover up their arrival from a red list country also face jail sentences of up to 10 years, whilst anyone who tries to avoid mandatory hotel quarantine will face fines of up to £10,000.

05:20 PM

'Stay vigilant to avoid Covid outbreaks in staycation hotspots'

Holidaymakers must remain vigilant when enjoying staycations this summer amid a risk of a rise in coronavirus cases at popular tourist spots, a leading scientist has warned.

A "sudden influx" of people holidaying in Cornwall over half term is likely to be a factor in an increase in cases there, Professor Tim Spector said.

One local councillor described a recent rise in cases as a "tsunami" in the wake of the G7 summit held there earlier this month, but the Government denied a link between the two.

Cornwall has seen as rise in infection rates - Getty
Cornwall has seen as rise in infection rates - Getty

Prof Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London and lead scientist on the Zoe Covid study app, said data this week shows "rates in former hotspots, such as Scotland and the north west of England, continuing to plateau".

But he added: "We need to remain vigilant of these UK holiday destinations as summer holidays approach, and ensure that we minimise outbreaks by following government guidelines."

Read more on our coronavirus live blog.

04:49 PM

How Scarborough is hoping to become ‘the Chamonix of England’

Simon takes a break from cycling on his round-Britain odyssey
Simon takes a break from cycling on his round-Britain odyssey

Traversing the north-east on his 3,000-mile cycle tour, Simon Parker encounters businesses making the most of the domestic travel boom,

Scarborough's Bike & Boot hotel has a bicycle workshop, a cinema, shower rooms and surfboard storage. The hope is that Scarborough will become an established centre for outdoor pursuits, following the boom of the leisure and adventure market; a mini Chamonix, France, or Crested Butte, Colorado.

Read on here.

Follow Simon’s journey in real time on Twitter and Instagram.

04:25 PM

9 British small towns and cities you should visit this summer

From Tudor streets and riverside walks to boutique shops and epicurean delights, there are many reasons to seek out these underrated centres, writes Emma Featherstone.

It's the summer of the seaside resurgence. Our countryside and villages, from the Lake District to the Cotswolds, are also enjoying a cut of the staycation boom. Yet some of our greatest assets are being forgotten in the stampede.

Richmond in Yorkshire is the original Richmond, which has more than 50 namesakes elsewhere in the world - Getty
Richmond in Yorkshire is the original Richmond, which has more than 50 namesakes elsewhere in the world - Getty

In a recent survey conducted by Visit Britain, among those Britons planning a domestic break, 36 per cent were opting for a coastal resort; just 10 per cent were considering a stopover in a smaller city or town. They’re missing a trick.

A thriving market, historic pub or grand country house each offer ample (and particularly British) enrichment, even on washout summer days. Here we give a taste of the smaller urban centres that deserve a second look in 2021.

Find the full list here

04:08 PM

Indonesia shuns lockdown restrictions as Covid infections surge

Indonesia’s government has insisted it will not impose large-scale social restrictions even though the Southeast Asian nation has been left reeling by a wave of Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks.

The country registered a daily record of 14,536 new cases on Monday, pushing its total over the 2 million mark, with nearly 55,000 related deaths.

The figures are thought to be a vast underestimate due to low testing and contact tracing in the world’s fourth most populous nation.

The latest surge has been blamed on mass travel at the end of Ramadan, when millions flocked home to see their families.

03:49 PM

How does the Government decide the traffic lights?

While we wait for this afternoon's announcement, here's how the updated list might be decided.

We do not know the exact numbers that qualify a country for red, amber or green status, we do know that the Government uses the following criteria to decide the traffic lights:

  • The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated

  • The rate of infection

  • The prevalence of variants of concern

  • The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing

03:36 PM

Which countries are currently green?

Many are hoping that the number of green list countries will increase with the Government announcement expected shortly.

Here's a reminder of the countries currently rated green. Note that only two of those destinations – Gibraltar and Iceland – allow British travellers in without prohibitive restrictions.

  • Australia

  • Brunei

  • Falkland Islands

  • Faroe Islands

  • Gibraltar

  • Iceland

  • Israel

  • New Zealand

  • Singapore

  • South George and the South Sandwich Islands

  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

03:29 PM

Recap: The countries that could go green, amber and red today

Croatia, Malta and the US have a clear case for being on the green list
Croatia, Malta and the US have a clear case for being on the green list

At some point this afternoon the Government will reveal what changes (if any) will be made to our holiday traffic lights. The changes will then come into effect from Tuesday 4am next week. The next update after this one is scheduled for July 19, and the one after that on August 9.

So which countries (if any) are likely to move up and down the traffic lights this week? Here we answer all your questions, and crunch the data.

03:13 PM

Jet2 resumes flights for first time in months, to Jersey

Jet2 has welcomed back customers for the first time in months after the tour operator started holidays to Jersey.

The airline and operator have suspended all European operations until next month, due to ongoing uncertainty over the traffic light system. But it today sent customers from Leeds Bradford to the Channel Island.

More flights will follow this weekend, from Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted.

Jet2 said the operator responded to “pent up demand” by significantly expanding its holidays programmes to Jersey, with 11 weekly flights.

The beach at Greve de Leq on the north coast of Jersey - David Clapp/Stone RF
The beach at Greve de Leq on the north coast of Jersey - David Clapp/Stone RF

02:52 PM

Global tourism group warns EU against imposing quarantine on UK

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has expressed concern over EU plans to apply quarantine restrictions to British arrivals.

Virginia Messina, senior vice president of the global tourism group, said with more than 60 per cent of British adults now fully vaccinated, they should be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to the EU.

Quarantines are not the most effective measure to curb the spread of Covid-19 and there is no need to reintroduce them especially given the increasing vaccination rates across Europe,” she said.

“Imposing an EU-wide quarantine would extinguish any hopes of bringing back significant summer travel which is a critical season for most European markets. This would significantly damage these countries’ economies, such as Germany where the UK is the fourth largest source market.

“It would also deal a significant economic blow to countries such as Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Malta where the UK is also the biggest source market - and Italy - where quarantines have recently returned for inbound British travellers.”

02:34 PM

Which? urges caution on booking holidays

Consumer group Which? has warned holidaymakers of the perils of booking holidays this year, ahead of the green list announcement.

Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said not even green list countries are guaranteed thanks to the traffic light system.

"The addition of more holiday destinations to the green list would be welcomed by holidaymakers and industry alike, but travellers still need to be extremely cautious about booking trips this summer, even to green list destinations," he said.

"Countries can be downgraded quickly and with little warning, as we saw with Portugal, while several European countries have introduced quarantine requirements for UK residents.

"Restrictions around international travel are changing regularly and when they do, the cost to holidaymakers is significant. Most providers will not pay refunds if a country is moved from green to amber, and 'free' amendments are often anything but, with many companies requiring significant notice of any changes and bookings for new dates usually costing hundreds of pounds. Travel insurance is also unlikely to pay out in these circumstances."

02:22 PM

Russia imposes domestic travel restrictions as cases spike

Russia's holiday resort region on the Black Sea told tourists on Thursday it would not let them visit later this summer without a Covid-19 vaccination, part of a government campaign to speed up the inoculation drive amid a wave of infections.

The number of confirmed nationwide cases surged to 20,182 on Thursday, the most confirmed in a single day since January 24. Both Moscow and St Petersburg recorded their most coronavirus-related deaths in a single day since the pandemic began.

The authorities have blamed the case surge on the Delta variant and people's reluctance to get vaccinated despite the widespread availability of Covid-19 shots.

Sochi is one of Russia's most popular holiday destinations - Getty
Sochi is one of Russia's most popular holiday destinations - Getty

Officials have ordered hotels and health resorts to admit people from July 1 only if they have tested negative or were vaccinated against Covid-19.

From August 1, that requirement will be tightened and people will only be allowed in if they have had the vaccine, the regional authorities said.

01:56 PM

EE to reinstate roaming charges now that UK has left EU

British mobile operator EE is to bring back mobile roaming charges in the European Union for new and upgrading customers from next January, after Brexit wiped out a benefit that has saved tourists and business travellers millions of pounds since the charges were abolished in 2017.

The company, which is owned by BT, had previously said it had no plans to reintroduce roaming charges following Brexit. Users will be charged £2 a day for roaming in a total of 47 European destinations, it said.

The charges, which will apply to customers signing new contracts from July 7, would support investment in its UK-based customer service and its UK network, it added.

Roaming charges were completely abolished in the European Union in 2017, saving holidaymakers and business travellers millions of pounds a year in total additional charges for using their smartphones outside Britain.

But fee-free roaming was not protected in the Brexit agreement Britain agreed with the EU.

Britain said it could not prevent European mobile network operating companies charging UK operators when customers roamed on their networks, and this charge could be passed onto the user.

01:32 PM

Around-the-UK cruise ship docks in Liverpool

The MSC Virtuosa moored at Liverpool Cruise Terminal - PA
The MSC Virtuosa moored at Liverpool Cruise Terminal - PA
The liner is on a tour around the UK, due to Covid restrictions - PA
The liner is on a tour around the UK, due to Covid restrictions - PA

01:22 PM

Merkel and Macron to press EU on coordinated quarantine for British tourists

French President Emmanuel Macron has backed Angela Merkel's call for an EU-wide quarantine for British tourists, as the German Chancellor reiterated her demand. .

Arriving in Brussels for a European Union summit, Ms Merkel said she would lobby member states for a more coordinated approach, telling reporters: "We are obviously concerned about the Delta variant."

Mr Macron said the 27-nation bloc needed to take coordinated decisions on opening borders to people from other countries.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Ms Merkel was right to say that coordinated action was required, particularly as travel across borders within the EU eased.

01:00 PM

Russia reintroduces restrictions after infections rise

The country reported 20,182 new Covid cases and 568 deaths on Thursday, including just over 8,500 infections in Moscow.

The recent surge, largely attributed to the Delta variant, has led Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin to reintroduce restrictions in the capital. From June 28, restaurants will only be allowed to accept patrons who can prove they have been vaccinated, were infected within the previous six months or provide a recent negative PCR test.

12:44 PM

Ahead of today's announcement on foreign travel, a reminder of the traffic light restrictions

12:36 PM

Australian man goes on hunger strike after mother dies while he was stuck in hotel quarantine

An Australian man whose mother died while he was in a hotel quarantine has gone on hunger strike to draw attention to the impossible situations facing people who seek exemptions from Covid restrictions on compassionate grounds.

James Turbitt, who lives in Belgium, made an emergency dash home last week after he learned his 62-year-old mother was in hospital in Perth, Western Australia.

But the only flight available was to Melbourne, on the other side of the country. So he asked authorities if he could break the mandatory 14-day quarantine in order to fly onwards to Perth to see her in hospital before she died.

He said he had already returned multiple negative tests and is double vaccinated but his request was denied.

Read Giovanni Torre's full report

12:26 PM

Watch: Being fully vaccinated will open up summer travel, says Boris Johnson

12:20 PM

Comment: 'After this tedious dry spell, I now know exactly what I want from my holiday'

The concept of “prescribing” oneself holidays isn’t new to me, but it’s never felt quite so imperative, writes Anna Hart.

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In 2021, we really do need our holidays to function as medicine, to work hard for us, to deliver what we have lacked and craved for months. The big “lack” for me was my family, because I’ve cunningly managed to position myself in corner of the Southeast coast, far from my parents in Northern Ireland, far from my brother in Yorkshire, and even further from my sister in California. We’re a close family, and I make seeing my family a priority, so this distance really stung, and in recent months I felt like I was carting around quite a weight of sadness.

Read the full story.

12:11 PM

Double-jab will give British tourists 'options', says Rishi Sunak

The UK's vaccine programme "should give us some options" in terms of opening up international travel, Rishi Sunak has said when asked how soon the quarantine requirement for those who have had two vaccine doses could be dropped.

The Chancellor told The Times CEO Summit: "We are looking at what role vaccine certification can play in loosening some of the quarantine requirements. I absolutely understand people's desire to be able to go and travel.

11:59 AM

PM: 'I'm not ruling out foreign holidays this summer'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was not ruling out going abroad for his summer vacation this year as the government mulls easing restrictions on travel for those who have had two Covid-19 vaccination doses.

"I think that the whole double jab process is offering the real prospect of opening up to travel, and we'll be setting out a bit more later on," Johnson told reporters.

Asked if he would take a trip abroad, he replied: "I'm going to see how we get on, and I'm certainly not ruling it in or ruling it out."

11:30 AM

'Italy, Canada and US have lower rates than UK'

The Press Association has published some of its predictions for today's green list announcement.

It said:

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, forecast that Malta and the Portuguese island of Madeira will be put on the UK's green list.

He said he is "not expecting more than five countries to be added", despite data indicating that "more are eligible".

Robert Boyle, former director of strategy at British Airways' parent company IAG, noted that several amber list countries have lower case rates than the UK, such as Malta, Poland, Germany, Moldova, Finland, Italy, Canada and the US.

But he added: "There were several countries that ought to have been added (to the green list) at the last review based on their case rates, and none were.

"So whether the traffic lights will remain stuck on amber/red at the next review is anyone's guess at this point."

10:55 AM

'We need to cast off the shackles of fear and open up the green list'

If we don't trust that the vaccines are working and expand our green list, we face the dire consequences of keeping our borders shut, writes Charles Levinson.

"Despite what politicians claim, international travel is still effectively illegal. Whilst many of our neighbours take to the skies to enjoy the summer months, our borders remain sealed with a few uncomfortable exemptions.

"If we’re going to have a cruel border policy, then it should apply to everybody. I was delighted to see Cornwall hosting the G7 summit, but if families are unable to visit loved ones overseas without draconian quarantines, then world leaders and their entourages should postpone their restriction-free beach barbecues until the rest of us can travel freely too.

"It simply can’t be one rule for the great and the good, and another rule for the rest of us. How will millions react when thousands of UEFA officials and journalists are allowed into the country with no strings attached for the Euro final? Quite rightly, pretty ticked off."

Read his full comment.

10:34 AM

Spotlight: When will America open to the UK?

10:17 AM

The bumper booking guide to the Balearic Islands

The Spanish archipelago looks set to make the green list in the next announcement, here are eight amazing holiday ideas for this summer, starting with...

Art and gastronomy in Palma

Best months to visit: May to October

A compact coastal capital with a rich and diverse history, Palma certainly packs a punch. For neoclassic, modernist and abstract art, head to Es Baluard museum or Caixa Forum for permanent and temporary contemporary collections. The city is awash with local and international gastronomy from Michelin-starred havens to inexpensive tapas bars. The markets of Olivar and Santa Catalina also tempt with fresh seafood platters and tapas served with wines and cavas.

The Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca - Moment RF
The Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca - Moment RF

Read the full story.

10:06 AM

Taiwan says discussing Covid-19 vaccine passports

Taiwan is in talks with international bodies about Covid-19 vaccine passports, the head of its Centres for Disease Control said on Thursday, which could help ease long-standing travel restrictions.

The island has been extremely cautious about opening its largely-closed borders lest it lets in more infections and is currently on high alert to stop the highly contagious Delta variant.

09:47 AM

Angela Merkel’s demand to quarantine British tourists is 'unjustified', says Cabinet minister

Angela Merkel's demand for EU countries to impose quarantine on British tourists is not "justified", a Cabinet minister has said.

The German Chancellor has threatened to scupper hopes of holidaymakers, suggesting that EU countries introduce mandatory quarantine for travelling Britons.

George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, told LBC: "I'm not sure that such an approach would be justified given the highly advanced stage we are currently at now in terms of vaccination, with 80 per cent having had one jab and now 60 per cent having had the second jab.

"I don't think such a move would be justified but obviously it's for individual countries to make these judgments."

Follow the Telegraph's politics live blog.

09:25 AM

Sydney in 'scariest period' of pandemic amid Delta outbreak

Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported a double digit rise in new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 for the third straight day as officials fight to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.

"Since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that New South Wales is going through," state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

Sydney residents queue outside a vaccination centre as tough new restrictions were applied to the city - AFP
Sydney residents queue outside a vaccination centre as tough new restrictions were applied to the city - AFP

NSW has imposed tough restrictions in Sydney, Australia's largest city and home to a fifth of the country's 25 million population. Health officials say transmission could be happening even through minimal contact with infected persons.

Australia, despite being on the green list, is set to remain closed to British travellers well into next year.

09:11 AM

'Is Ibiza on the green list?

SEO Travel has been in touch to say that the five Google searches below have increased by over 5000 per cent in the last four hours and been listed as "breakout topics".

  • 'Is Ibiza on the green list?'

  • 'Will Greek Islands be on the green list?'

  • 'Canary islands green list UK'

  • 'Is Majorca on the green list?'

  • 'Is Denmark on the green list?'

Will Majorca make it onto the green list? We think possibly - Getty
Will Majorca make it onto the green list? We think possibly - Getty

08:47 AM

A tale of two designated protected areas

The Goverment of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (the one on the green list) has designated its entire land mass a protected area to conserve its rich wildlife.

King penguins and glaciers in South Sandwich - PA
King penguins and glaciers in South Sandwich - PA

Meanwhile... East Riding Council of the Yorkshire Wolds is to designate two new protected areas.

A classic Yorkshire landscape - PA
A classic Yorkshire landscape - PA

08:27 AM

Israel pushes back tourism reopening date

Israel has postponed the reopening of its borders to foreign tourism until August 1 as it tries to snuff out a surge of coronavirus infections it attributes largely to the incursion of the highly transmissible delta variant.

We have decided to treat this as a new outbreak. We intend to cut it off here, take a pail of water and douse the flames while they are still small,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.

In addition to delaying the return of incoming tourism by a month, the government on Wednesday reinforced quarantine regulations, ordered more daily testing and introduced a 5,000-shekel ($1,535) fine on parents whose children don’t quarantine when required.

Mask wearing, scrapped just days ago, was reimposed at airports, border crossings and medical facilities, and will be required in all closed public places if new daily infections don’t fall below 100 soon.

Israel is one of the few countries on the UK's green list.

Tel Aviv, Israel - Getty
Tel Aviv, Israel - Getty

08:10 AM

Reduce number of tests for amber travellers, says immunologist

A leading immunologist has said amber testing could be reduced from three to two but that PCR tests could be needed in the future to guard against variants.

Denis Kinane, immunologist and chief medical officer of Cignpost ExpressTest, said:

"We believe the way to open up travel for amber countries is to reduce the number of return tests required from three to two. Done correctly, this could eliminate the need for isolation in the UK.

“The key is to replace the lateral flow-test that is currently required before the return trip home with a gold-standard PCR test that can detect the viral load of individuals with much higher sensitivity and specificity.

"This, followed by a second test within two days of returning to the UK, is sufficient to confirm holidaymakers are free from the virus, safely removing the need for isolation when they are back in the UK.

"Such a change in the rules would enable people to go straight back to work on their return, and would still ensure that anyone testing positive could be isolated before they infect other people. New variants will continue to present challenges and we need robust high quality PCR testing for the foreseeable future.”

07:55 AM

Spotlight: Why Malta is ready to reopen

07:42 AM

'Quarantine changes will apply from August'

Paul Charles, head of travel group The PC Agency, has had his say on what is expected today. He says Malta and Madeira are certain, but there could be further additions to the green list.

He also says the double-jabbed quarantine rules will ease from August, not July 19.

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07:23 AM

Government 'wants to support foreign holidays', says minister

The Government "wants to support foreign holidays", a Cabinet minister has said, ahead of the anticipated travel list update today.

The Balearic Islands, Malta and some Caribbean islands could also be added to the green list.

George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, said those destinations where travel to the mainland is "restricted" could be treated as distinct areas for the purpose of the traffic lights system.

He added: "Personally I want us to get to position where we can support those who want to travel to do so... but it is difficult, we have to be cautious."

However Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, yesterday called on EU member states to impose quarantine on travelling Britons.

07:17 AM

Which countries are already green?

Very few, if you recall, with even fewer beach holiday options.

Here are red, green and amber lists in full.

07:08 AM

Five stories to keep an eye on today

Good morning. A big day for British holidaymakers today as...

  • The Government is expected to add to the green list

  • Double-jabbed travellers to dodge quarantine in August

  • Tour operators and airlines poised for surge in booking interest

  • Merkel wants UK travellers quarantined in every European country

  • Grant Shapps hopes ‘world could open up’