Travel news – live: 24 red-list countries could turn green, as 300,000 suspected of breaking quarantine rules

Just one-sixth of new holiday bookings were made this summer compared with 2019, the travel association Abta says.

When furlough ends on 30 September, the association predicts more redundancies among travel companies.

All overseas holidays were banned for 19 weeks until 17 May. Even when international leisure travel was permitted, only one mainstream destination was open without quarantine on return the UK: Portugal.

Within 10 days it was moved off the green list, triggering a race to beat the self-isolation deadline.

The pattern has been repeated through the summer, causing uncertainty among prospective travellers.

In addition, all returning holidaymakers must take multiple Covid tests – the most onerous and expensive requirements in Europe.

“The government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing,” said CEO Mark Tanzer.

In other news, France has moved the US down to its “orange” list – amounting to a ban on unvaccinated US travellers, who now need an “essential reason” to enter.

Follow the latest travel news below:


Less than 1% of travellers returning from amber countries testing positive

Less than 1 per cent of travellers returning to the UK from amber countries have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks, NHS test and trace figures reveal.

Just 3,347 people, or 0.9 per cent of travellers, tested positive in the seven days to 1 September, reported The i.

An average of 1.01 per cent of people have received a positive Covid-19 result from a day two test taken after visiting an amber list country since 15 July.

Home secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News this week that he will remove testing for travellers “as soon as [he] possibly can”, saying: “I am not going to make that decision right now, but I have already asked officials that at the moment we can, let’s get rid of these kind of intrusions, the costs that generates for families, particularly families just trying to go out and holiday.

“We shouldn’t be keeping anything like that in place for a second longer than is absolutely necessary.”

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 14:01


‘Close’ call for Jamaica going on the UK’s red list, says expert

Jamaica is a borderline candidate to go on the red list at this week’s travel traffic light update, says Covid data expert Tim White.

“Jamaica, on the old criteria of cases, tests, vax rates, incoming passengers arriving infected & genomic sequencing, would probably survive red again, so should be ok this week, but it’s close,” White tweeted today.

“Cases coming down now but many nations were added to red despite being beyond peak.”

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 12:08


Couple thrown off US flight after mask row

A couple have been filmed becoming aggressive and shouting at cabin crew in Florida, after being asked to leave a JetBlue flight due to staff concerns over their mask-wearing.

In the video, posted to Instagram, the unmasked man shouts and swears at flight staff for several minutes, lunging at the crew member next to him at one point, as several passengers film the altercation.

Passenger Alice, who filmed the altercation, said the chaos began when a flight attendant asked the woman to fix her son’s mask before getting on the plane, which she apparently didn’t. She also said that the woman and her husband “had their masks on off the nose the whole time”.

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 11:31


A British woman who claims a gastric bug caught on holiday in Egypt left her with long-term health concerns has received a payout from tour operator Tui.

Donna Chatfield, 40, fell ill during a two-week break at the Jaz Aquamarine resort in Hurghada, Egypt, in August 2017, and was subsequently diagnosed with post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome.

Donna believes she caught the gastric illness from food and drink at the hotel, where she was holidaying with her partner and daughter.

Tour operator has paid £60,000 in total to families who sued them after taking ill during a stay at the resort between July and August 2017.

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 10:57


Ask Covid data expert Tim White your travel questions – today

Want to know which countries are looking safe enough to be on the green list, or have Covid case rates high enough for a move to the red list?

In a digital event from The Independent, Covid data analyst Tim White will be on hand at 4pm today to answer as many of your queries as he can.

With a potential update to the travel rules expected on Thursday, and a larger overhaul of the UK’s international travel system within the coming weeks, it’s an uncertain time for travellers.

Tap into Tim’s in-depth knowledge of current Covid data across the globe to get the best steer on your travel plans.

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 10:01


Scale of collapse of holiday bookings revealed by Abta

Almost half of travel companies reported they have seen no increase in 2021 bookings compared to last year, despite the rollout of the vaccine programme.

Travel Association Abta says the majority (58 per cent) of bookings with departure dates in July or August this year had to be postponed or cancelled.

Just one-sixth of new holiday bookings were made this summer compared with 2019, figures from the travel body show.

In addition, all returning holidaymakers must take multiple Covid tests – the most onerous and expensive requirements in Europe.

“The government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing,” said CEO Mark Tanzer.

Simon Calder14 September 2021 09:08


‘Do not enter this seating area’ – some tubes and trains keep Covid blocks in place

Transport for London is simultaneously telling commuters on the tube that there is zero threat from Covid and keeping two dozen seats on each Bakerloo Line train blocked off from passenger use.

The Independent has found that five months after lockdown rules in England were eased and use of public transport became possible for non-essential reasons, Tube and train operators are potentially adding to rush-hour crowding with Covid restrictions.

Tube passengers are told: “Do not enter this seating area or stand in the doorway vestibule. This is to allow our staff to follow social distancing guidelines.

“Doing this helps keep the Bakerloo Line running for essential journeys.”

Last week the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) revealed that commuting by rail, which collapsed as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, is still two-thirds down on the level in early 2020.

Read the full story here:

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 08:35


Brazil, Egypt, Seychelles, Thailand ‘will stay on red’, predicts expert

Amid reports that the UK’s red list could be significantly reduced in the coming weeks, Covid data analyst Tim White has shared his predictions for which countries might shift or stay with The Independent.

Fourteen nations, said Mr White, are likely to remain on red: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, French Guiana, Montenegro, Philippines, Seychelles, Suriname, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia.

The Seychelles “still has quite high rates,” said White, while “Thailand submitted very little data”.

“Given the fear over mutant strains and Beta in particular, I think Thailand will stay red until it can do more genomic sequencing,” he said.

But, he added: “Most scientists believe most of the variants circulating in South America are not more likely to evade vaccines so there is an argument to allow them all off red.”

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 08:04


‘Zero variants of concern’ found in PCR tests, research shows

New NHS figures show there were zero variants of concern in PCR tests taken by holidaymakers returning to England between 12 August and 1 September.

Research carried out by consultant Suzanne Lugthart for The Sun shows that no variants of concern were found among the 1.1 million PCR tests undertaken in that three-week period of summer.

An average of one in 100 tests returned a positive result, but this was much higher – 1.77 per cent -among travellers coming in from “red list” countries.

At present, all passengers to the UK from every foreign country except Ireland must take a pre-departure test, as well as a “day two” test after arrival.

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 07:37


Good morning

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog, where we’ll be sharing all the latest updates.

Lucy Thackray14 September 2021 07:31


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