Holiday hopes grow as variants not found among amber arrivals

Hopes are growing for family holidays in Europe being allowed from the end of July, according to several reports.

The Telegraph said the optimism came after “scientists found no evidence of variants in more than 23,000 people tested after returning to the UK from amber destinations”.

Fewer than one in 200 travellers from amber list countries tested positive for Covid-19 and there were no cases classed as being ‘variants of concern’.

Ministers have a deadline of June 28 for reviewing the government’s traffic light system for travel and the cabinet’s Covid-O committee is due to meet later this week to consider whether to expand its quarantine-free green list.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, told the newspaper: “No Covid cases from people arriving from green list countries, zero variants from amber and a very low positivity rate. This is clear evidence of the government treating international travel differently from the domestic economy.

“If the unlocking of the domestic economy takes place as planned on July 19, there is no reason why international travel should have to wait several more weeks.”

Henry Smith MP, chair of the all-party future of aviation group, added: “These figures clearly show that our current chaotic and overly cautious approach to international travel is not based on data at all.

“Our approach to international travel simply defies belief, as Europe reopens, we have gone from a restart based on data and science to the near total closure of our airports without proper explanation or justification.”

Meanwhile, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, told The Times: “Vaccination and testing are making international travel safer just as surely as they make things safer within our borders.

“It’s time British people were able to reap the benefits of the vaccines and for us to get the travel industry moving again.”

The Times also reported that Susan Hopkins, the strategic adviser for coronavirus at Public Health England, said officials were talking to countries including Israel who are ahead of Britain with vaccinations about how to open up foreign travel.

David Jones, Tory MP for Clwyd West and former cabinet minister, told The Times: “These figures are very compelling, and also extremely worrying at a time when the travel industry is in crisis. They show very clearly that there is no good reason why the current restrictions should remain.”

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