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Hope that the UK Government would add further destinations,
such as the United States, to its green list of destinations from which
arrivals do not have to quarantine have been dashed.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that not only is the
list not being extended but that Portugal is being shifted from the green list to
amber. Arrivals from amber countries must self-isolate for ten days and take two Covid tests on days two and eight.
Shapps told BBC News that there were two reasons for the changes. He said, "One is that the positivity rate has nearly doubled since the last
review in Portugal and second there is a Nepal mutation of the so-called Indian
variant and we just don’t know the potential for that to be a vaccine-defeating mutation and simply don’t want to take the risk as we come up to 21 June and the
review of the fourth stage of the unlocking."
Seven countries will also be
added to the red list, from which arrivals are banned with the exception of UK
and Ireland nationals who must enter mandatory quarantine in a
government-approved facility. The countries that are moving to red are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa
Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Shapps said in a statement: "The public has always known travel will be different this year and we must continue to take a cautious approach to reopening international travel in a way that protects public health and the vaccine rollout.
"While we are making great progress in the UK with the vaccine rollout, we continue to say that the public should not travel to destinations outside the green list.
The new measures will enter into force next Tuesday, 8 June at 4am.
The travel industry has condemned the move saying the UK's borders are now effectively closed.
Story updated with comments from Grant Shapps and link to industry reactions