Government ‘is set to end green and amber lists’ for travelling abroad

How could the new rules work? 

Red list – Stays the same with hotel quarantine required for high-risk destinations. 

Green and amber lists – Abolished and effectively merged into one.  

New rules – 

Nothing would change for double-jabbed travellers, who already do not have to quarantine for green or amber list countries. 

The rules may change for non-vaccinated travellers. However, it’s unclear if they would be required to continue to quarantine or face a more intensive testing regime on returning to the UK.

Advertisement

The traffic light system could be scrapped and replaced with a new approach based on whether travellers are double jabbed, it was claimed today.

Ranking countries green or amber could end, although the red category is expected to stay for high-risk destinations for which hotel quarantine is required.

Paul Charles, head of the PC Agency, a consultancy, said plans to create a simpler system had been shared with travel industry bosses and airlines.

‘The traffic light system is expected to be scrapped by 1st Oct – at last,’ he tweeted. 

‘Airlines and some of us in the sector are aware of plans to create a simpler system, where countries are either red or not.’ 

Fully-vaccinated Britons can already return from amber list countries without having to self-isolate after ministers ditched the requirement.

This means that for double-jabbed holidaymakers, the same rules apply to both green and amber countries, with a requirement to undergo pre-departure tests and then a PCR test within two days of returning to the UK.

 

People enjoy themselves at Magaluf beach in Mallorca - a popular destination for UK holidaymakers - earlier this summer

People enjoy themselves at Magaluf beach in Mallorca - a popular destination for UK holidaymakers - earlier this summer

People enjoy themselves at Magaluf beach in Mallorca – a popular destination for UK holidaymakers – earlier this summer 

Paul Charles, head of the PC Agency, a consultancy, said plans to create a simpler system had been shared with travel industry bosses and airlines

Paul Charles, head of the PC Agency, a consultancy, said plans to create a simpler system had been shared with travel industry bosses and airlines

Paul Charles, head of the PC Agency, a consultancy, said plans to create a simpler system had been shared with travel industry bosses and airlines

In other Covid updates today – 

  • Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi squirmed as he was hammered by Tory MPs over ‘unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory’ plans for Covid passports at nightclubs;
  • Covid cases fell sharply in Israel and hospital admissions kept going down as scientists said mass booster vaccine scheme had blunted country’s fourth wave;
  • AstraZeneca bosses warned ministers not to rush booster jab plans because we might not need all of it – ahead of third dose roll-out to 35million Britons this month; 
  • Plans to pay an extra £10billion into the NHS with a National Insurance hike sparked warnings cash would be ‘gobbled up’ and fail to slash waiting times; 
  • Data suggested Scotland’s school outbreak ‘has already peaked’ and SAGE said it is too late to vaccinate youngsters in time for winter anyway. 

The replacement for the traffic light system is likely to only impact the non-vaccinated, it is claimed. The quarantine or testing requirements they will have to undergo is still unclear.

‘It’s about whether you are vaccinated or not, rather than the country you are travelling to,’ a source briefed on the proposal told the Telegraph, which first reported the plans.

‘What it means is that green and amber disappear and only vaccination status will count for where you travel.

‘For a vaccinated person, just as now all countries apart from red are ”green”.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘Our international travel policy is guided by one overwhelming priority – protecting public health.

‘Decisions on our traffic light system are kept under regular review and are informed by the latest risk assessment from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and wider public health factors.

‘The next formal checkpoint review will take place by 1 October 2021.’

Pictured: A graph showing the progress of Britain's Covid vaccine rollout

Pictured: A graph showing the progress of Britain's Covid vaccine rollout

Pictured: A graph showing the progress of Britain’s Covid vaccine rollout

The UK’s travel rules have been coming under increasing criticism, with the boss of British Airways declaring them ‘not fit for purpose’ yesterday.

Chief executive Sean Doyle said Government policy is ‘the biggest single enabler’ of airlines recovering from the virus crisis.

He went on: ‘We had the traffic light system over the summer. There was some progress made.

‘But I think it’s not fit for purpose. It needs to be simplified. It needs to be adapted in the same way that we see in Europe and in the US.’

On Monday, Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate called for testing to be removed altogether for travellers who have been double jabbed.

‘Other countries have done this and their aviation sectors are recovering much faster with bookings in Europe recovering twice as fast as in the UK,’ he said.

The requirements vary depending on whether someone is arriving from a green, amber or red location, and whether or not they are fully vaccinated. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps arriving in Downing Street yesterday

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps arriving in Downing Street yesterday

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps arriving in Downing Street yesterday 

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi squirms as he is hammered by Tory MPs over ‘unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory’ plans for Covid passports at nightclubs

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor for MailOnline 

Nadhim Zahawi squirmed in the Commons today as he was hammered by Tory MPs over ‘unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory’ plans for Covid passports.

The vaccines minister was assailed by a host of his own side as he answered an urgent question on the proposals for using certification in nightclubs and other venues.

Faced with barbs that he was talking ‘rubbish’ and did not really back the policy, Mr Zahawi admitted that it caused him ‘pain’ to ‘curtail people’s freedoms’.

But he insisted it was not ‘normal times’ and the measure would be dropped as soon as possible.

Nadhim Zahawi squirmed in the Commons today as he was hammered by Tory MPs over 'unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory' plans for Covid passports

Nadhim Zahawi squirmed in the Commons today as he was hammered by Tory MPs over 'unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory' plans for Covid passports

Nadhim Zahawi squirmed in the Commons today as he was hammered by Tory MPs over ‘unsupportable, coercive and discriminatory’ plans for Covid passports

 

 

Israeli scientists say mass booster vaccine scheme has blunted country’s fourth wave 

By Joe Davies for MailOnline  

Covid infections in Israel are falling sharply after the rollout of its mass booster rollout, with hospital admissions and deaths also beginning to trend downwards, according to data.

Figures compiled by the Oxford University-backed research team Our World in Data show Israel’s average daily cases have been falling for the last four days, after peaking at just over 10,000 on September 3, despite children returning to schools.

A total of 4,632 people tested positive on Sunday — the most recent day data is available for — down 20 per cent on the week before (5,809). The country’s seven day average is now around 7,300, down from nearly 8,000 the week before.

Weekly hospitalisations also fell 17 per cent in the seven days ending September 5, while average deaths remained at similar levels week-on-week.

Israel was deemed the Covid capital of the world — with the highest infections rate of any country — just six days ago.

It began dishing out third doses to everyone above the age of 60 in July and expanded the drive to everyone over 12 at the end of August, which Israeli scientist say has prompted the recent downturn. More than 2.6million in the country have had a booster.

Israeli Government adviser and data scientist Professor Eran Segal said the ‘increase in the rate of infections… has diminished’.

He said: ‘This is likely due to the third booster shots, an uptick in people taking the first dose and the high number of people infected per week who now have natural immunity.’ 

Advertisement

The Government has confirmed it wants to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs by the end of September.

The scheme would see members of the public required to show proof they have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to gain entry to clubs and other large-scale events.

Mr Zahawi said the policy is ‘designed to reduce transmission and serious illness’.

He added: ‘No-one in this Government, certainly not this Prime Minister – it is not in his DNA to curtail people’s freedoms or require people to show a piece of paper before they enter a nightclub.’

Mr Zahawi tried to lighten the mood of the chamber by referring to Michael Gove’s recent antics in a Scottish nightclub.

‘The reason that we are moving forward on this is because, if you look at what has happened in other countries where nightclubs were opening and then shutting again, opening and shutting again, we want to avoid that disruption and maintain sectors that can add to people’s enjoyment of life and dance, as it did for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Michael Gove).

‘That they can do so sustainably, the reason for the end of September… is because by the end of September all 18-year-olds and above would have had the chance to have two doses.’

He added: ‘It is not something… we do lightly, it is something to allow us to transition this virus from pandemic to endemic status.’

But Conservative MP William Wragg said: ‘What a load of rubbish.

‘I don’t believe (Mr Zahawi) believes a word of what he’s just uttered because I remember him very persuasively stating my position – which we shared at the time – that this measure would be discriminatory and yet he’s sent to the despatch box to defend the indefensible.

‘This is a needless fight that we seem prepared to have in this House over the issue, it’s completely unnecessary.’

Mr Wragg encouraged people to have the jab, adding: ‘But to go down this route, which is overtly discriminatory, would be utterly damaging to the fabric of society.’

Mark Harper

Mark Harper

William Wragg

William Wragg

Senior Tories Mark Harper (left) and William Wragg (right) were among those rebuking Mr Zahawi over the Covid passports policy today

AstraZeneca bosses warn ministers NOT to rush booster jab plans because we might not need all of it 

The heads of AstraZeneca have warned not to rush too quickly into rolling out a vaccine boosters – as the vaccines minister said around 35million Britons are set to get third doses in a rapid programme beginning later this month.

Nadhim Zahawi said the top-up doses would be crucial in allowing the UK to learn to live with Covid and preventing future lockdowns, and the NHS was aiming to deliver third doses even more rapidly than during the initial rollout this spring – when around 400,000 people were jabbed each day.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said this morning he was ‘very confident’ there will be a booster programme and that he was just waiting on advice on ‘who actually gets it and when’.

That advice will come from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent body which advises the Government on vaccines, which has previously hinted that it will not be recommending a mass booster rollout.

The heads of the AstraZeneca jab have warned that booster jabs may not be needed for everyone in Britain, and a rush to roll it out nationwide risks putting additional strain on the NHS.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of the company, said the UK remains ‘a few weeks away’ from being able to make a decision on pushing a vaccine booster programme across the country.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Soriot, along with Executive Vice President of BioPharmaceuticals R&D, Sir Mene Pangalos, warned that moving ‘too quickly’ to boost the whole adult population would deprive scientists of insights into the effectiveness of two vaccine doses. 

Advertisement

Tory former chief whip Mark Harper, who chairs the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, branded vaccine passports ‘discriminatory’ before adding: ‘This is a pointless policy with damaging effects.

‘I’m afraid the minister is picking an unnecessary fight with his own colleagues. I say to him, the Government should think again.’

Mr Harper highlighted how Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has stated there is no need for vaccine passports for MPs to attend the chamber.

He added: ‘Let’s not have one rule for Members of Parliament and another rule for everybody else. Drop this policy.’

Former Cabinet minister Karen Bradley said Mr Zahawi was ‘defending a policy that I don’t think his heart is truly in’.

Sir Desmond Swayne, another ex-minister, swiped: ‘Isn’t the super-spreader event the spread of a liberal discriminatory and coercive policy from this despatch box?’

Conservative backbencher Joy Morrissey said: ‘May I, on bended knee, implore (Mr Zahawi) to summon all his courage and say ‘no’ to vaccine passports and protect our civil liberties.’

Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland), who secured the urgent question, called on the Government to hold a vote on Covid vaccine passports.

He warned: ‘Never before in peacetime has the government of this country controlled in this way where we can go, with whom and what to do.’

Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘These are not normal times that we are enduring. This is a measure that we are having to take, and if he hears from our chief medical officers in England, Scotland, now and of course Wales and Northern Ireland, this is a mitigation to allow us to continue to transition this pandemic over the winter months and not have to reverse that policy.

‘And I say to him with a heavy heart, I would much rather stand here and take the arrows from colleagues in the back, or the front, rather than come back here to this House and have to close down nightclubs because the virus has caused a superspreader event and have to explain that to the whole industry.’  

Sir Desmond Swayne, another ex-minister, swiped: 'Isn't the super-spreader event the spread of a liberal discriminatory and coercive policy from this despatch box?'

Sir Desmond Swayne, another ex-minister, swiped: 'Isn't the super-spreader event the spread of a liberal discriminatory and coercive policy from this despatch box?'

Sir Desmond Swayne, another ex-minister, swiped: ‘Isn’t the super-spreader event the spread of a liberal discriminatory and coercive policy from this despatch box?’

link

(Visited 210 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply